California-based Surf Air has acquired BlackBird, an “online aviation marketplace” that pairs passengers with private aircraft owners and charter operators via mobile app. The companies will form the new Surf Air Mobility Corporation, which will focus on 50- to 400-mile trips as an “alternative to commercial airlines and driving on short routes.” As part of the acquisition, BlackBird founder and CEO Rudd Davis has been named chief operating officer of Surf Air Mobility Corp.
“Similar to the way that three-sided marketplaces have transformed the home and ride-sharing economies, Blackbird has unlocked the potential of general aviation with a simple consumer experience and by tapping into an existing underutilized asset base to create affordable on-demand flying,” said Surf Air CEO Sudhin Shahani. “Combining this with our scheduled membership platform will bring increased value and options to both of our customer bases and current and future operating partners.”
Surf Air offers flights to its members via a network of Part 135 operators. As previously reported by AVweb, the FAA sent a letter (PDF) to BlackBird in December 2019 stating that its operations would be subject to Part 119 certification. According to BlackBird, all of its flights are now also conducted by Part 135 operators.