SANTA BARBARA – A new all-you-can-fly membership-based airline is in the works to charter travelers around the state.
SurfAir has an innovative travel plan that charters passengers in a private plane with set destinations in Santa Barbara, Palo Alto, Monterey and Los Angeles.
"I would love to see this model be successful, it's like concierge flying," said Santa Barbara Airport Operations Manager Tracy Lincoln.
SurfAir CEO Wade Eyerly compares the business model to a popular movie rental company.
"We're kind of like Netflix for private air travel," he said. "With Netflix you can hold four DVDs at your house but you can watch as many DVDs as you want. You watch one, you send it back, you get another one but you never have more than four at your house.
"We do the same thing but instead of DVDs you have boarding passes and reservations on a private plane."
Members can get the four boarding passes for just under $1,000 a month but travel as much as they want.
"It would be nice to see if the service could evolve but we do have some niche markets that I think if done correctly, these people could fill," said Lincoln.
One of those markets is Las Vegas and the company is looking to expand to Sin City if the first group of destinations is successful.
SurfAir is planning demonstration flights on April 24 from Van Nuys to Santa Barbara Airport to show potential members what charter travel would be like.
Sixteen experience pilots will be hired to charter the customers including a pilot who used to fly Air Force One. Military pilots will also be on board.
"It's a real point of pride to employ some of these guys now that they're home," said Eyerly.
SurfAir still needs the FAA regulatory approvals before they can get off the ground but Eyerly said the company should have that by the end of summer.
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:14 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:14:07 GMT
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