26 Feb 2017

‘Uber of travel’ Surf Air set for UK operations launch

A California-based ‘all-you-can-fly’ airline is to start operations from the UK.

Passengers pay a monthly fee of £2,500 for an unlimited number of flights on the self-proclaimed air travel disruptor.

Surf Air – dubbed the Uber of air travel – plans to take off from Luton airport in May using eight-seat aircraft operated by private and business aircraft services firm TAG Aviation.

The airline, which originally planned a UK launch last October, aims to run services to cities including Cannes, Geneva and Zurich on a daily basis with Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona planned together with weekend trips to destinations such as Ibiza.

Passengers will be able to book seats online or via an app in 30 seconds and arrive at the airport 15 minutes before take-off.

Launched in California in 2013 as the country’s first private membership airline, Surf Air has 3,000 members.

It runs up to 90 daily flights to 13 destinations in and around the state.

“Members are able to enjoy an all-you-can-fly service without the hassle and frustration of commercial travel,” the airline claims.

Surf Air Europe chief executive, Simon Talling-Smith, told The Times: “We see an upside from Brexit,

“I think there will be many people, for example in financial services, whose companies wish to relocate them to European capitals but they’re not ready to relocate their family out of London yet.”

Talling-Smith, former British Airways vice president for the Americas and an executive of Travelzoo, added: “We see our model as the future of air travel and it has been greatly received in the California market since its launch.

“Our innovative service provides fantastic value to regular travellers not seen elsewhere, and we look forward to expanding our club and delivering a distinctive travel experience to Europe’s top destinations.”

The European arm of Surf Air expects to turn an operating profit on revenues of £8 million in the first year with 1,000 subscribers in that time.

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