Surfair is clearly doing something right. The company launched in California three years ago with just one plane flying between two cities. Now, there are 12 planes, 3000 members and 90 flights a day. The idea is simple; members pay a monthly fee to unlock unlimited flights on executive jets. Flights can be booked in less than 30 seconds via an app, and there are no agonising waits at the airport.
A Learjet from the Surfair fleet
“The price point is much lower than any of the other jet broking models,” explains Talling-Smith. “Others offer a price of around £2500 per hour of flying. We offer a month of flying for that price.” With cost of ownership a barrier to entry in the superyacht industry as it is in the private jet industry – is this a model that has wider-reaching potential?
Talling-Smith thinks so. “There are concepts here that could be replicated in the superyacht industry. The idea of membership with subscription is increasingly attractive to people, driving people to have a certain amount of usage of something that they don’t own. There’s a new company, Maha Yachts, coming onto the market with a similar concept – they drive membership and their members get to use the yacht for certain amounts of time per year.”
The Surfair mobile app
It makes sense, since capital outlay and ongoing costs are often seen as a headache to potential buyers. “We work the assets harder and share them among more people – which brings the price down,” explains Talling-Smith. “The model brings lots of entrants into the market who weren’t able to access it before.” For the superyachting industry – that could only be a good thing.