Friday, July 12, 2013

Surf Air "all-you-can-fly" airline flies past Palo Alto, lands in San Carlos

Surf Air, the "all-you-can-fly" airline service that was supposed to take off from the Palo Alto Airport instead made a flyover, putting down wheels at the San Carlos airport.

Santa Monica-based Surf Airlines Inc., or Surf Air, offers its members unlimited flights between smaller, less congested regional airports on the west coast — currently it flies between San Carlos, Santa Barbara and Burbank airport in Los Angeles for a monthly fee, starting at $1,650.

Surf Air CEO Wade Eyerly said he liked the Palo Alto Airport, but practical matters made him decide on San Carlos instead.

"The runway was 500 feet longer, and that turned out to matter," he said. "Plus it kind of splits the difference between the Palo Alto crowd and downtown San Francisco crowd. It's a little easier to go 4 miles south of SFO, where the airport itself and facility is."

The company was approved by the FAA on May 30 and has been making flights between Burbank and Santa Barbara since the beginning of June. It's now making six round trips per day from San Carlos -- four from Burbank and two from Santa Barbara.

He said the upcoming transition of ownership from Santa Clara County to the City of Palo Alto didn't have any bearing on the decision to switch airports.

Surf Air was founded in November of 2011 and has secured $7 million in venture funding from firms such as Anthem Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates and TriplePoint Capital.

Eyerly, a former intelligence officer and an aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney, founded the company with his brother David, a former manager at Frontier Airlines. 


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