Surf Air launches all-you-can-fly subscription service in UK
Surf Air will ride the Brexit wave by launching unlimited flights from London as Britain's bankers face relocation to rival financial hubs.
The US firm has opened its all-you-can-fly subscription service to customers in Britain and Europe for the first time, just months before flights take off from locations like London's Luton Airport on May 1.
Members will pay an initial joining fee followed by £1,750 per month in exchange for unlimited flights between key hubs on eight-seat planes that will run multiple times per day.
The first European routes will run between cities including London, Zurich, Luxembourg and Cannes, with trips to Ibiza reserved for the weekends.
The launch comes at a sensitive time for airlines which are waiting with bated breath to discover whether the UK will remain a member of the EU's Open Skies aviation free market after Brexit.
But Surf Air's chief executive for Europe Simon Talling-Smith is optimistic that negotiations will be fruitful and said the company is actually set to benefit from Britain's divorce from the EU.
"We see an upside from Brexit," he told the Press Association.
"I think there will be many people, for example in financial services, whose companies wish to relocate them to European capitals but they're not ready to relocate their family out of London yet.
"And therefore they'll end up living weekends in London and living weekdays in a European city - and that kind of commuter is perfect for Surf Air."
Mr Talling-Smith said Surf Air will be nimble and offer flights to locations with the highest demand, adding that Frankfurt is high on the list.
Rival financial centres like Frankfurt, Dublin and Paris are expected to siphon off some of the City's businesses, ahead of the expected loss of passporting rights as part of a hard Brexit.
Passporting rights allow UK-based financial services to trade across the bloc without needing to apply for licences in each member state.
HSBC has said it is on course to move 1,000 jobs from its London office to France as a result, while around 4,000 of JP Morgan's 16,000 UK staff could be shifted abroad, though a potential location has yet to be revealed.
Mr Talling-Smith said he expects the European business to report an operating profit, and reach revenues of 10 million US dollars (£8 million) within the first year.
The company expects to have gained 1,000 European subscribers during that period.
Surf Air is entering the European market nearly three years after launching in California, having built up a significant customer base of more than 3,000 members in the US.
The subscription airline has raised around 50 million US dollars (£40 million) since its inception in 2013, having been backed by a number of venture capital funds and private investors including Anthem Venture Partners, Mucker Capital, and actor and musician Jared Leto.
That funding has helped build up a fleet of 12 planes out of its base in California, with 45 more on order for the US.
Negotiations are currently under way for another 50 to serve Europe over a five-year roll-out period.
Once established on the continent, Mr Talling-Smith said plans are to roll out across the Middle East and India.