Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All Signs Point to Success for Surf Air

Surf Air, the "all-you-can-fly" airline that is looking to revolutionize private air travel, took to the skies last June and all indications are that the launch met or greatly exceeded everyone's expectations.  Company Founder and CEO Wade Eyerly was interviewed by CNBC regarding the important milestone and he seemed confident that Surf Air will do for the airline industry what Netflix has done for the movie industry. (OK, that's great Wade but $1,650 is still a little bit more than $7.99 per month.)

Of course where would any entrepreneur (and their related disruptive business plan) be without a few naysayers?  Former Continental CEO, Gordon Bethune, is among the list of skeptics who is questioning the wisdom of Surf Air's monthly subscription business model.  In fact, he even used the P.T. Barnum "sucker" reference to make his point.  Ouch.  In spite of critics like Gordon, all signs continue to point to the company being successful.

As reported in two previous JetGuide blog posts, what's not to like about the Surf Air's ambitious business plans?  The company is well-funded by 'smart' money ($11M to be exact), they have a laser-targeted subscription service - with a highly-coveted affluent demographic, and they have been garnering significant buzz, not unlike all the media attention that has been generated for JetSuite over the last few years.  Admittedly, the business models of both companies are quite different.  Nevertheless, given their innovation, management team and backing, both Surf Air and JetSuite could each thrive and be very successful in the long-term.

Targeted Routes + Affluent Subscribers (might) = Mucho Deniro
With initial service being between Burbank and San Carlos, CA, Surf Air launched with 150 founding members even though the airline claims they have 4,500 other individuals who have expressed interest in subscribing.  A typical client profile is a well-paid C-Level executive, making on average $300K per year, who can't quite justify fractional ownership but also knows the inherent value of their time. Thus, a typical airline "shuttle" service like Southwest or Virgin is, in the end, more costly to them.  Tough to argue with that logic.

Surf Air sees the potential for some 53 other "targeted" routes - like Atlanta to Sea Island, GA or Kansas City to St. Louis - so stay tuned for more updates on the company's progress and next milestones.  Similar to all business and commercial start-ups reported herein, only time will tell if Surf Air succeeds in converting the next (large) wave of potential prospects.  Now isn't that what they were saying about Netflix some 15 years ago?

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