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Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 8:34 am | Fair 45º


Private Airline Ready to Take Flight from Santa Barbara Airport

Membership-based Surf Air plans to begin its local service July 15 after receiving FAA approval this month

An all-you-can-fly airline will begin offering trips out of the Santa Barbara Airport next month following federal approval to operate the membership-based private air service.

Santa Monica-based Surf Air made its maiden voyage last week — flying between Burbank Bob Hope Airport and San Carlos Airport near the Bay Area — after receiving a long-awaited go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month.

The airline plans to make its first flight out of the Santa Barbara Airport on July 15, according to a public relations contact from a company that works with Surf Air.

Flights will initially be in and out of Santa Barbara to San Carlos and Burbank, with plans to expand routes in the coming months, the contact said.

Surf Air will take flight in Santa Barbara nearly a year after the service was first announced due to the delayed approval.

The new service aims to fly its members an unlimited number of trips to and from the San Francisco area, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles on a private, first-class Pilatus eight-seat aircraft.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide frequent California travelers this groundbreaking alternative for air travel,” co-founder and CEO Wade Eyerly said in a statement. “We’ve put together a team of industry-leading pilots and created a first-class, membership-based air service that is like nothing else available in the market.”

Surf Air earned FAA approval on June 3, along with a round of funding — led by Velos Partners and Base Ventures — to grow its team of pilots and customer care associates and to scale for future growth, according to the contact.

Fliers will be able to book a round-trip flight for $790 a month and two round-trip reservations for $990 a month. They could book another flight after they return from their last one.

Members will have access to unlimited monthly intrastate flights and guest passes, exclusive member events and to the first-class members-only concierge service.

Surf Air has previously announced the company would be accepting 500 memberships for its first three-month launch servicing the California airports. Two planes will be ready to go, and service is supposed to expand to Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas if successful.

Hazel Johns, assistant director at the Santa Barbara Airport, said Surf Air has been working with the airport to finalize permits and plans for its first local flight.

Once the operation is up and running, the airport will be able to post the charter flight information on its website, Johns said.

“It’s kind of a unique service,” she said. “I certainly wish them well. If they do serve the Bay Area, that would be very beneficial to companies here in Santa Barbara that need that quick trip up.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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