O&A client Surf Air Mobility electrifies the skies with hybrid aircraft service

Surf Air Global Limited, a British Virgin Islands corporation doing business as Surf Air Mobility and O&A, P.C., client, has filed an ambitious flight plan to bring green tech to the commuter air carrier industry.

This summer, Hawthorne, Calif.,-based Surf Air Mobility agreed to purchase 100 of Textron Aviation Inc.’s Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, with an option for 50 more. The planes will be fitted with hybrid electric power trains produced by Surf Air Mobility’s Ampaire division, with plans for the aircraft to be deployed across Surf Air Mobility’s network over the next three years.  

In addition to the purchase, Surf Air Mobility and Textron Aviation entered into an exclusive agreement to help Surf Air Mobility make electrified aircraft available to other operators, with Textron Aviation using its expertise and customer relationships to accelerate adoption of the electrified Cessna Grand Caravan in the market.

“We see this as a significant step toward the decarbonization of aviation,” Sudhin Shahani, Surf Air Mobility’s chief executive, told the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Surf Air was founded in 2011 and launched with a “Netflix model” of selling commuter air carrier service on a subscription basis. Surf Air Mobility became its parent company as part of a  2020 acquisition of BlackBird Air, an online aviation marketplace, connecting passengers, private plane owners, and charter operators. 

O&A first began representing Surf Air Mobility in 2019 to assist with the company’s latest round of convertible debt financing. Despite the turbulence of 2020, as outside general counsel O&A assisted in Surf Air Mobility’s next round of preferred equity financing, the acquisition of BlackBird Air via an asset purchase in exchange for equity, the adoption of a 2020 stock incentive plan, and the restructuring of Surf Air Mobility’s board of directors.  O&A also assisted in the closing of a post-public registration share purchase agreement with GEM Global Emerging Markets worth up to $200 million to Surf Air Mobility.  On the commercial side, O&A assisted Surf Air Mobility in signing term sheets, letters of intent, and memorandums of understanding with Textron Aviation, Ampaire, and others.

“Ever since we first met Sudhin and the team at Surf Air Mobility, we have been impressed by their drive, ingenuity, and sophistication,” said O&A senior associate Kevin Pasternak.  “It has been an incredible experience working with Surf Air Mobility, and we’re excited to see how they are growing into becoming pioneers of hybrid-electric airplanes.”