|By Business Wire||
|August 13, 2014 09:00 AM EDT||
Surf Air, the nation’s first All-You-Can-Fly membership airline, announced today a total order of up to 65 new Pilatus aircraft (15 firm orders and 50 options) to be delivered over the next five years, with a total order value of approximately $312 million. The first 15 aircraft are being financed by a $65 million senior facility from White Oak Global Advisors, alongside an additional $8 million equity round from new and existing investors, bringing the total equity raised to $17 million. With this order the company has formed an unprecedented exclusive partnership with Pilatus Aircraft whereby Surf Air will be the only membership-based operator to utilize the PC-12 NG in the United States.
“This new funding is coming at a natural inflection point for the company. The last year has shown us that there is significant customer demand for Surf Air’s unique product and that the Pilatus PC-12 NG is capable of achieving profitable unit economics with our model,” said Surf Air Executive Chairman, Sudhin Shahani. “We already provide customers a private travel experience at a disruptive price point that has not previously been achieved in the industry. Entering into an exclusive partnership with Pilatus with secured debt financing allows us to clearly define our growth trajectory and capture market share.”
“In just our first year, Surf Air has enjoyed incredible demand from consumers—more than our existing fleet of planes will be able to accommodate going forward,” said Surf Air CEO, Jeff Potter. “With over 900 members now, we believe prospective members understand our value proposition—and now with 65 more aircraft committed for delivery and additional equity investment funds, we look forward to the opportunity to significantly expand this industry changing ‘All-You-Can-Fly’ membership model in California and other regions of the country.”
Under the strong leadership of airline and membership club veteran Potter and serial entrepreneur and venture investor Shahani, Surf Air has grown memberships in 2014 from 250 members to 900 members with an additional 350 member deposits on hold waiting for additional aircraft and routes. Venture Investors who participated in the new equity round included existing investors Anthem Ventures, Velos Partners and Base Ventures with participation from new investors FF Ventures, Plus Capital and several others. In addition, a number of notable angel investors participated in the round including Bill Woodward, Rick Caruso, Dennis Phelps and Jared Leto.
Each new Pilatus NG aircraft will be configured in an eight-seat all executive class interior to ensure a high level of comfort, class and convenience. The Pilatus PC-12 NG has gained a reputation for outstanding versatility, performance, reliability and operational flexibility. As such, it is one of the most popular turbine-powered business aircraft on the market today. Delivery of the aircraft will take place over the next five years to meet membership demand and to provide for rapid nationwide expansion.
“The Surf Air business model is proving to be among the industry’s most innovative concepts,” said Thomas Bosshard, President and CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd. “We’ve been working with the Surf Air management team to help them prove their business model, and it is great to see it now expand to the next level. Of course, we are obviously very pleased they selected Pilatus as their aircraft provider. The PC-12 NG is a perfect fit for Surf Air, as it provides the most modern and comfortable cabin for passengers, tremendous performance and payload capability for flight crews, and unmatched operating economics for its members.”
“We are extremely excited to be working with Surf Air and believe that its unique model will attract meaningful consumer and business interest. Furthermore, we have confidence in the seasoned executive team which encompasses a strong combination of business leadership, aviation experience and financial acumen,” said Darius Mozaffarian of White Oak Global Advisors. “We are confident that the Surf Air team will deliver on its growth strategy.”
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