Surf Air Mobility has entered into a definitive agreement that will result in a merger with Southern Airways Corporation, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approval. The merger will advance a MagniX and AeroTec project to reduce the carbon footprint and become the world’s largest operator of Cessna Grand Caravans.
Southern is one of the largest regional airlines in the United States. It operates 39 cities in the Mid-Atlantic, Gulf South, Rocky Mountains, West Coast, New England and soon, the Far Pacific.
In March 2022, Southern Airways Express acquired Air Choice One, another major regional airline based in St. Louis, Missouri. The move will strengthen Essential Air Service, the government’s program to support air connections to small communities that were affected by the 1978 deregulation.
The merger with Southern Airways, along with its subsidiary, Mokulele Airlines, will allow the combined companies to create a national air travel platform and accelerate efforts to commercialize hybrid electric aircraft. In 2019, Southern and Mokulele carried more than 230,000 passengers, according to the Department of Transportation (DoT). .
The definitive agreement coincides with Surf Air Mobility’s announcement of its plans to go public through a merger with Tuscan Holdings Corp. II, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain closing conditions.
«Southern Airways believes that the 50- to 500-mile regional routes we currently fly are the fastest and most practical solution to bring electric air travel to market,» said Stan Little, president and CEO of Southern Airways, who will continue to lead the airline after the merger and will become chairman of Surf Air Mobility.
«We are pleased to be part of Surf Air Mobility’s mission to electrify aviation and bring sustainable innovation to market faster,» Little continued.
A Cessna Grand Caravan mega-operator.
Southern is the largest Cessna Caravan passenger operator in North America, with up to 30 aircraft in its fleet and another 100 on order. It also has an order for two Tecnam P2012 Travellers for deployment in Guam and two Saab 340Bs based in Hawaii.
For Surf Air, the Cessna Grand Caravans will provide a powerful base to bring its hybrid electric aircraft technology to market.
«The addition of Southern Airways will allow us to more quickly bring green flight solutions to real travelers,» said Carl Albert, president of Surf Air Mobility.
Surf Air Mobility intends to upgrade the Cessna Grand Caravan fleet to an electric-hybrid aircraft, using technology developed in conjunction with magniX and AeroTEC, two pioneers and market leaders in aviation innovation and electrification.
On the other hand, Surf Air Mobility has 8 Pilatus PC-12s and an order for an additional 65 aircraft. In addition, under a partnership with Textron Aviation it agreed to purchase up to 150 Cessna Grand Caravan EXs, with an initial fleet order of 100 aircraft and an option for 50 more.
«The Cessna Caravan fleet will be the foundation for the next generation of aircraft as we upgrade to hybrid electric propulsion systems. Our first generation of electric aircraft will help decarbonize aviation and alleviate the environmental impact of flying, with the goal of reducing emissions by up to 25 percent compared to conventional propulsion systems,» concluded Carl Albert.
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