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Surf Air Gets FAA OK To Launch

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Surf Air, which aims to offer private air travel in PC-12s among four California cities for a flat monthly fee, has received FAA approval to start flying. Flights will start June 12, with service between San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. The company also said it has closed on a round of funding that will allow for future growth. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new funding amounts to $7 million. The monthly memberships will cost about $1,650, according to NPR. Surf Air says its members can book or cancel flights in under 30 seconds using mobile apps, can park for free at the airports, and there are no fees for luggage or for flight changes.

Last year, the company had said it expected to launch in summer 2012 and offer memberships starting at $790 per month. Analyst Wayne Plucker of the firm Frost and Sullivan told NPR this week he has been following the airline's progress. "If they can get enough subscribers and keep them happy for long enough, it's a reasonable business model," he said, but he added that the economics of any airline are tricky. The company says at its website it plans to expand service "as quickly as possible" to Las Vegas, Palm Springs Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and the Sonoma/Napa area, with other markets nationwide to be added in the future.

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