California’s Surf Air Acquires Dallas-Based Airline Company Rise

[Updated 6/7/17 12:21 pm. See below.Dallas—Dallas-based aviation startup Rise has been acquired by Surf Air, a California airline membership company.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Rise founder Nick Kennedy will remain with the company as president of the Texas region.

[Updated to include comments from the CEO.]“Members loved what we were doing and wanted more of it,” Kennedy said in an interview. “It’s all about the network. We need to travel to other places than Texas; we were missing out on that revenue that customers were willing to give us.”

Kennedy said Rise and Surf had frequent contact since they operated very similar business models, albeit in two distinct geographies. “We could go raise a lot of capital and [expand] California, knowing that Surf was in the same position in looking to service Texas, and go head-to-head,” he says.

Or, he says, the companies could combine and serve “18 airport in 14 cities, 10 to 100 flight a day, and connecting the two states.” The new routes will take effect in September.

Rise offers “all-you-can-fly” access to its flights for a monthly fee of at least $1,950 to six Texas destinations, with plans to expand to cities in adjacent states. Surf, which was founded in 2013 with about 3,000 members, flies primarily in California, a network that Rise members can now access. Kennedy says Surf is working on flights between Texas and California as well as to Las Vegas and Scottsdale, AZ.

Kennedy said the new company will now look to a nine-figure raise to add additional routes, including international flights.

Rise first began flights in July 2015 targeting high frequency business travelers seeking to shorten travel times between Texas cities.

Kennedy said he decided to stay on with the new company because he’s “ ready to go see this go to all 50 states, and multiple countries.”


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