Bentonville city airport first in state with Surf Air service

by Jeff Della Rosa (JDellaRosa@nwabj.com) 1,516 views 

Surf Air Pilatus PC-12/47E photographed on January 6, 2015 from Wolfe Air Aviation Cessna 337. It's one of the 14 aircraft on which Surf Air members can fly. Photo courtesy Surf Air.

An app-based service allowing members to fly as much as they’d like is coming to Northwest Arkansas.

Surf Air is expected to start flying out of Bentonville Municipal Airport by the end of the year, company president Nick Kennedy said.

The plan is to start the service with two round trips daily, and more flights will be added as demand grows. The initial flights will be to Dallas and Atlanta.

Surf Air allows its members to use its app to book a flight in about 30 seconds, Kennedy said. A membership is about $2,000 per month.

“Everything we do is about saving time,” he said. “We want to make sure we give that back to consumers.”

Bentonville Municipal Airport will be the first airport in Arkansas with the service. Surf Air selected the airport because of its proximity to businesses nearby, including retailer Wal-Mart Stores, and Northwest Arkansas for its “good, strong business community,” Kennedy said. The company provides flights with its fleet of 14 aircraft, including Pilatus PC-12, Embraer Phenom 300 and soon, a Bombardier CRJ. A third-party operator owns the aircraft.

More than 300,000 passengers have flown on Surf Air, which launched its service more than three years ago. Earlier this year, Surf Air purchased Rise, a company Kennedy founded four years ago. Surf Air’s service includes 22 airports in 18 cities, largely in Texas and California, such as Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s also expanded internationally to include cities in France, Germany, Italy and United Kingdom.

When flights start from Bentonville, members can take connecting flights from Dallas to other cities in Surf Air’s network. While the service is membership-based, if a company were to purchase four memberships, then others could fly along on a per-seat basis. Those flights will be about 20% more than flying on a typical air carrier. “We’re a premium product,” Kennedy said.

Members also will have the opportunity to fly for leisure on the weekends with Surf Air’s new product, Escapes.

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