News


Surf Air to return to San Carlos Airport later this month, company says

 

Surf Air, the controversial members-only commuter airline behind thousands of residents' noise complaints to the San Carlos Airport, will be back at the airport later this month, the company confirmed with The Almanac on Friday.

Gretchen Kelly, the manager of the San Mateo County-owned airport, confirmed in August that the airline had stopped using the San Carlos Airport, saying that the last record the airport had of a Surf Air plane landing there was June 29. She said at the time that workers affiliated with Surf Air indicated it may be back in October.

A company spokesperson confirmed via email Friday afternoon that Surf Air will resume service in San Carlos later this month. The spokesperson said an exact date for when flights will resume has not been determined, "but we're hoping to begin in the next couple of weeks," the spokesperson said.

"We’ve worked closely with the community since suspending service over the summer to identify ways to reduce our noise footprint, which we believe we’ve addressed by modifying our schedule and using a quieter type of aircraft," the Surf Air spokesperson said. "We’ll stay in close contact with our friends in San Carlos to quickly address any issue that may arise as we resume service.”

Menlo Park resident Joe Straton of CalmTheSkies, a group of concerned citizens from various cities under the Surf Air flight path, said to his knowledge, no one in the community had conversations with Surf Air as the spokesperson stated. Community members are not pleased with the return of Surf Air.

"The early morning and later evening flights are disruptive to many people throughout the flight path," said Straton, who is the administrator for CalmTheSkies' website. "The flights disturb sleep, work and leisure time." It sounds like a helicopter is right above your house for the duration of the plane passing over, Straton said.

The company's 90-day flight schedule, emailed to Surf Air website subscribers on Oct. 3, runs from October through January, Mondays through Fridays. Flights from San Carlos to Santa Barbara are listed in the schedule, along with flights from San Carlos to Hawthorne. The schedule did not list specific dates for flights.

Surf Air also has San Carlos back up as a destination on its website.

Kelly could not immediately be reached for comment.

Asked how many flights will be scheduled in and out of the airport, the Surf Air spokesperson said, "Once we resume flight operations we’ll start slowly as our planned service will not be as robust as previous."

"San Carlos is the most popular destination for members in our network today and I can confirm that the San Carlos Airport is aware of our return, and I've been told that we have indeed made the county aware," the spokesperson added.

A startup airline that began using the San Carlos Airport in June 2013, Surf Air offered unlimited flights for a monthly fee and scheduled as many as 45 flights a day in and out of the airport.

In mid-June, however, Surf Air replaced Encompass Aviation LLC with Advanced Aviation LLC as its flight operator. Days later Encompass sued Surf Air, claiming $3.1 million in unpaid bills. In addition, the federal government says Surf Air owes $2.33 million in taxes, and San Mateo County says Surf Air owes it $131,371 for 2017 taxes and may owe more for 2015 and 2016.

Surf Air has since filed a counterclaim to the Encompass lawsuit, asking that Encompass return the PC-12 turboprop planes it has subleased from Surf Air and claiming at least $10 million in damages. Surf Air has also requested a jury trial.

After the change in flight operators, the airport recorded only 51 arrivals or departures by Surf Air before the flights stopped altogether.

In August, Kelly said that no one from Surf Air officially notified the airport that the flights would be discontinued, but that the company's ground crew said flights would be discontinued through the end of September.

Surf Air raised an additional $9.1 million in funding in September, according to a regulatory filing. This brings the Santa Monica-based company's total funding to $92.9 million, according to business information website Crunchbase.

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Comments

17 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 6, 2018 at 11:40 am

Not good. Not happy.


29 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 6, 2018 at 2:29 pm

"We’ve worked closely with the community since suspending service over the summer to identify ways to reduce our noise footprint,..."

I'm a member of the KSQL working group representing the community that has been dealing with Surf noise since they arrived in 2013. The above statement is false. They have not been working with us. I'd like to know which community they are working with. The airport is aware of who we are, the County Sups know us, and we have never worked with Surf 'since suspending service over the summer'. That's a problem.

They are not community focused, and never have been. It's consistent with their false statements and promises over the years.

Web Link


30 people like this
Posted by Justin
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 6, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Hi, David, actually, you should understand their statements in the following way:

"We’ve worked closely with the community since suspending service over the summer to identify ways to reduce our noise footprint, which we believe we’ve addressed by modifying our schedule and using a quieter type of aircraft"

They have worked closely with Surf Air board members who lived in the community. They have decided to change the original schedule by moving it earlier or later by 5 mins. They do have used a wet cloth on top of their engine surface to lower the noise.

" I've been told that we have indeed made the county aware"

Yes. The county is aware, but those officials do not care.

"Once we resume flight operations we’ll start slowly as our planned service will not be as robust as previous"

They will roll back all of their flights in a very sneaky way to avoid their coming back receives too much attention from the beginning. Slow cooking.

Surf air is probably the most shameless company I have ever seen. Anyone who invested that 9.1 million should be ashamed of themselves by screwing the community.


21 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 6, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Surfair isn't "screwing the community". They are operating as allowed under FAA regulations. Those who think Surfair is "screwing" you need to communicate with the FAA. Surfair operates under FAA regs. If you don't like those regulations, then you need to get the FAA to change them. Otherwise. Stop whining. It's tiresome. You bought a home in the approach or departure path of an airport. What did you expect? Control your entitled attitude and understand that an airport makes noise. duh! And NO, I have no financial interest in Surfair. I simply have no patience for entitled whiners that want others to deal with their poor decisions.


Like this comment
Posted by barbara Hvoschinsky
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Redwood Shores resident subscriber to Almanac


13 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Angela, when you say "Members Only", I think you mean to say..., "anyone can be a member". Just like being a member of Costco. Nothing special there or exclusive.

I agree with "Menlo Voter". I live right next to the airport and I am not bothered at all. It's all part of living in an Urban Area.

As far as the KSQL Working Group? Again, I live next to the airport and am very aware of the community. I have never heard of you. In fact, I searched and didn't find you. Perhaps a web site link would be helpful? When do you meet? I'd like to attend your meetings.

As a note, I'm not a member of Surf Air and did not receive payment for my comments here. Just a regular citizen living right by the airport.


14 people like this
Posted by Redwood Boater
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:47 pm

WTF Menlo Voter? Here you go again spouting another trite cliche “you moved under the flight path...” Tell me who 30 years ago could have anticipated an entity like Surf Air commercializing a general aviation airport? Your argument is total BS. Get over your envy anger thing with people you refer to as entitled and say something useful.


15 people like this
Posted by Ani
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 8, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Oh no! It's been soooo peaceful since they stopped... back to the way it was for the 22 years I lived in my house before Surf Air existed. Anything they do to change times or change aircraft won't help enough. What they need to do is change to a larger airport that is prepared for the number of flights they run. And follow the actual flight path defined by FAA. (Which they weren't doing before they stopped flying into/out of KSQL.)
Does anyone know if they've paid their bill to the County and their taxes? It doesn't sound like it. Or did they "settle" for some small portion so that the County didn't have to take them to court.
As far as I'm concerned if they start using the airport again without paying those bills in full and having some sort of escrow account for future payments it's adding insult to injury.
Just curious where you people who say you live "next to the airport" actually live. It's clearly not in the flight path like some of the rest of us.


12 people like this
Posted by SURF AIR SUCKS
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 8, 2018 at 4:16 pm

So fed up with the way private companies are allowed to traumatize our communities with noise. WTF?! And the FAA---they have absolutely no interest in doing anything with anyone in any of our communities. We're not even on their radar. They don't care. At all.

Apparently, neither do our community leaders, since they consistently refuse to speak up against the relentless aircraft noise, traffic noise increase (not to mention the alarms) from the expansion of Facebook, and won't take a stand to make any sort of difference for our communities.

Hopeless. Living here has become Hell.


7 people like this
Posted by SA Noise
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Liars


7 people like this
Posted by SA Noise
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 8, 2018 at 4:55 pm

[Post removed; keep it civil]


11 people like this
Posted by Will
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 8, 2018 at 6:11 pm

Surf Air sucks.I have lived here my whole life and they are totally disruptive. If you are a "commercial airline" then fly into a commercial airport, not a small regional airport.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 8, 2018 at 7:10 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Tell me who 30 years ago could have anticipated an entity like Surf Air commercializing a general aviation airport? "

uh, anyone with the slightest modicum of foresight. Anyone that bought under the approach path to an airport and thought it would stay that way forever was, let's say, "naive", to put it politely. The world changes. Anyone that doesn't understand that is "naive".


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 8, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

" Your argument is total BS. Get over your envy anger thing with people you refer to as entitled and say something useful."

No "envy" here. I live under the approach path to the airport. I also live a couple hundred feet from Catrain. I knew about both of them when I purchased my property. I have no complaints because I'm not entitled. I don't think the world revolves around me. You made a poor choice . Accept your poor choice. Suck it up and act like and adult for god's sake. The airport was there when you bought your house.


9 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 8, 2018 at 8:02 pm

My goodness—our silly county commissioners should put a stop to Surf Air landings in San Carlos if they owe anyone any money! They need to grow a spine and stop Surf Air!


11 people like this
Posted by johngslater
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 8, 2018 at 8:57 pm

Between noisy planes (which FAA approves) and flight ceilings that have the planes coming in low many miles from the airport you have 1000s of people who not longer have peace and quiet.

It has been a very pleasant summer, like the ones I used to remember. Too good to last.

Can we expect our elected officials to do something? They seem to know how to put out election mailers, and not much else.


3 people like this
Posted by Justin
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 8, 2018 at 9:05 pm

To Menlo Park:

You got your point, just like we got ours. suggest you be civilized. We are all human beings.

' " Surfair isn't "screwing the community" "

A company behind thousands of complaints is a good one, just because they haven't accumulated millions of complains? I have read through your responses in the past articles. It is true that thousands of families are only a small portion of bay area population. But that's already a very sizable amount of families. Based on your theory. Why do we need to care the most recent sexual harassment protest? It is less than 0.0001% of population protesting.

' Those who think Surfair is "screwing" you need to communicate with the FAA.'

FAA is not FDA. Surf air founder talked FAA into screwing the community to turn a general avaiation airport for commercial use. They should be equally responsible.

' Stop whining. It's tiresome. '

Man, you should stop shouting here with no financial support from surf air. I hate to hear from you either. Is this article your home?

' You bought a home in the approach or departure path of an airport. '

Prove to me that I bought a house around the airport. You don't need to be near the airport to hear those noise. Surf air flys wherever they want. They don't have a path. In their eyes, the whole sky is their approach or departure path.

"NO, I have no financial interest in Surfair"

As you know, I don't have financial interest in Surfair either.

"I simply have no patience for entitled whiners that want others to deal with their poor decisions."

In which part of my message did I ask you for patiences? We were not asking you for suggestions. We won't consider you deaf if you kept quiet. Please try not make yourself like a mentor to others. You are no one.


11 people like this
Posted by Just the facts
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 8, 2018 at 9:58 pm

Side step the FAA and Surfair by closing the airport all together. Any value airport may have had to the county has long since passed. I can see housing for thousands of people where the airport once stood. Santa Monica closed their airports because of noise so should we.


3 people like this
Posted by Q&A
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Hey, Surf Air spokesperson! Some questions for you: You mention in The Almanac article that “We’ve worked closely with the community…to identify ways to reduce our noise footprint, which we believe we’ve addressed by modifying our schedule and using a quieter type of aircraft.” Can you provide details? Like, how exactly will you be modifying your schedule and reducing your noise footprint? What type of quieter aircraft will your airline be flying over Peninsula communities? And who have you worked closely with in the community?

And one more question. According to The Almanac article, Surf Air is asking for the “return of the PC-12 turboprop planes” in a pending lawsuit. So, if Surf Air gets those planes back, the planes you were using before you suspended service at San Carlos Airport, will your airline be using those PC-12s or “a quieter type of aircraft?”

Looking forward to your response


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 9, 2018 at 7:40 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Please try not make yourself like a mentor to others. You are no one. "

Neither are you.

"Why do we need to care the most recent sexual harassment protest? It is less than 0.0001% of population protesting. "

Apples and oranges.

"Surf air founder talked FAA into screwing the community to turn a general avaiation airport for commercial use. "

He did no such thing. The regs were written allowing aircraft of the size and occupant load that Surfair uses to fly into GA airports long before Surfair came along. Surfair founders were simply smart enough to see the opportunity.

"I hate to hear from you either. Is this article your home?"

No, is it yours?

"As you know, I don't have financial interest in Surfair either. "

I know no such thing. I don't know who you are. You say you don't have a financial interest. I believe you.

"In their eyes, the whole sky is their approach or departure path. "

No, the FAA allows them to fly where they want when they are operating under VFR rules. If they are flying IFR the FAA has very specific routes that they must fly. I would also hazard a guess that given the amount of air traffic over the bay area Surfair planes are most likely being vectored by ATC all over the "whole sky".


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 9, 2018 at 7:42 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Side step the FAA and Surfair by closing the airport all together."

The airport can't be closed for at least 20 years. The county has taken money from the FAA and the grant of those funds requires the county to keep the airport open and not restrict any FAA allowed use.


2 people like this
Posted by Q&A
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:35 am

Regarding my earlier comment posted above (to find it, scroll up a few comments from here), it starts with: Hey, Surf Air spokesperson! Some questions for you:

I'm hoping Surf Air's spokesperson will somehow see the several questions raised in the comment and provide a response. I posted the questions late yesterday. Hoping to get a reply.


6 people like this
Posted by Sybille
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 9, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Wouldn't mind at all if they used glider planes. (Yes, tongue-in-cheek.) Anyone any better solutions for MUCH quieter air transport?


3 people like this
Posted by Justin
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:21 pm

To Menlo Voter:

"Neither are you."

That's why I am not behaving like a mentor, unlike you. You got your point. I got mine. Only if you bite me, I will fight you back. Unlike you. proactively biting anyone who had a different experience and never offend you.


"He did no such thing. The regs were written allowing aircraft of the size and occupant load that Surfair uses to fly into GA airports long before Surfair came along. Surfair founders were simply smart enough to see the opportunity."

The regs clearly defines SQL as reliever airport. There were debates whether Surfair's use of the airport should be allowed. The founder admitted that convincing FAA was the hardest part to get surfair started.

If you believe those founders were smart enough by dancing in the grey area, then Charles Ponzi would be a genius.

"No, is it yours?"

BS. of course no. That's the point I wanna make! That's why I respect others' comments. But you attacked people like people were asking you a question. Don't treat yourself like the King of the commenting area and bark at others' comments like they offended you. No one offended you. Everyone here is only stating a fact that they have experienced. not like you. It is none of your business.

"No, the FAA allows them to fly where they want when they are operating under VFR rules. If they are flying IFR the FAA has very specific routes that they must fly. I would also hazard a guess that given the amount of air traffic over the bay area Surfair planes are most likely being vectored by ATC all over the "whole sky"."

They use a very loud engine. This company is full of lies to the public. Please try answer the questions from Q&A above.


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 9, 2018 at 10:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"The regs clearly defines SQL as reliever airport."

Exactly!!!

"A relief airport or reliever airport is an airport that is built or designated to provide relief or additional capacity to an area when the primary commercial airport(s) reach capacity. In some cases a relief airport is an existing one that is designated to handle a specific class of aircraft such as general aviation"

That is exactly what SurfAir does!!


3 people like this
Posted by SA Noise
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 10, 2018 at 1:40 am


Are Surf Air pilots weighing the crew, fuel, passengers and carry on to see if they comply with minimum strip length for that combined weight ?

Can we hear from SQL management on this, Their margin of error is approx 50' to spare Not much room for error with a couple of fat people and some snuck on carryon equipment.

Also these luxury PC's are decked out with all the extras which adds weight, It would be nice to weigh a couple of these to see if they comply


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 10, 2018 at 7:44 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Please try answer the questions from Q&A above. "

I can't. The question wasn't directed at me and I'm not a spokesman for Surfair. I can guess. I think the quieter aircraft they are referring to are planes fitted with different propellers that are quieter. The noise is mostly caused by the prop.


6 people like this
Posted by gwen
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 10, 2018 at 8:40 am

'Ive lived under the airport flight path for over 23 years and never knew it until Surf Air arrived and disrupted the bucolic neighborhood. The low loud descent is unacceptable and many san carlos airport pilots who fly Pilatus have been landing over us for years WITHOUT complaint- these pilots volunteered years ago to 'teach' the Surf Air pilots to land without the disruption..they obviously were ignored by Surf.

Agree with David- Surf Air continues to lie to the press and the community- we have been a part of this protest/complaint group since Surf Air arrived- and have met with Atherton council and Airport management for over 4 years...Surf air hasn't reached out to Atherton Council or to any of us on the team.

Still cant get the Supervisors to confirm Exact amount of debt Surf Air has incurred with the County and WHY they continue to let them land IF they owe the County. Slocum and Horsley havent been particularly involved in protecting their citizens.. if it takes 20 years to shut down the airport, at least we have a start date- if that is the route we must look at.

There was also much in the press when Surf shut down the local route about their lack of spending on maintenance on planes. Gwen


3 people like this
Posted by Q&A
a resident of another community
on Oct 10, 2018 at 8:49 am

Okay, San Carlos Airport is a reliever airport. That's something to know. But perhaps equally important is this observation in an article about disruptive business models: “Shaking things up is OK as long as companies thoroughly evaluate how new business models might be perceived by people outside their customer base, and attempt to address problems before they spiral out of control.” The article, published in the Las Vegas Business Press, is also posted in Calm The Skies.

“In 2017 protesters picketed the San Carlos Airport to protest Surf Air’s noisy flights,” The Almanac noted in a photo caption. Other local media have reported residents in Peninsula communities filing thousands of complaints over a number of years. What was that again about “shaking things up” in that Business Press article?


7 people like this
Posted by Jim P
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 10, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Jim P is a registered user.

Reliever Airport:
Mr. Carpenter provided the definition. However, it is misleading to say "that is exactly what SurfAir does." Surf has no problem using Oakland or San Jose airports. They have been using Oakland for the past 3 months for most of the flights that were using San Carlos. They were never denied usage because the airport needed relief. They want to use San Carlos because there is no TSA and because it is easier. TSA avoidance was the second goal of the founders. The first was to get assigned a certification that had never before been assigned to a service like Surf, according to the lawsuit filed by the founder. As soon as Surf diluted his shares, they removed him. He sued. I think he lost. His Frankenstein child was just getting started.


5 people like this
Posted by Q&A
a resident of another community
on Oct 10, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Jim P, very helpful perspectives!


5 people like this
Posted by Q&A
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2018 at 8:16 am

I’m aware that a copy of the Oct 8th post here in Almanac Comments – “Hey, Surf Air spokesperson” (see below) -- was sent, yesterday, to the Surf Air PR Team. Will the PR Team at Surf air respond to questions in the 10/8 post (see below)? That is the question.

Posted by Q&A
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2018 at 10:14 pm
Hey, Surf Air spokesperson! Some questions for you: You mention in The Almanac article that “We’ve worked closely with the community…to identify ways to reduce our noise footprint, which we believe we’ve addressed by modifying our schedule and using a quieter type of aircraft.” Can you provide details? Like, how exactly will you be modifying your schedule and reducing your noise footprint? What type of quieter aircraft will your airline be flying over Peninsula communities? And who have you worked closely with in the community?

And one more question. According to The Almanac article, Surf Air is asking for the “return of the PC-12 turboprop planes” in a pending lawsuit. So, if Surf Air gets those planes back, the planes you were using before you suspended service at San Carlos Airport, will your airline be using those PC-12s or “a quieter type of aircraft?”

Looking forward to your response


2 people like this
Posted by MaryAnnMP
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 11, 2018 at 3:14 pm

MaryAnnMP is a registered user.

I WANT TO BE ON THAT JURY.


2 people like this
Posted by Q&A
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2018 at 9:31 am

What is it, a week ago, now, since we posed several questions to Surf Air in the Comments Section of an article in The Almanac? It was the Oct. 6 article about Surf Air returning to San Carlos Airport. We asked, for example, if Surf Air could provide details about who they worked with in the community. A Surf Air spokesperson had said in the article “We’ve worked closely with the community…to identify ways to reduce our noise footprint…” It would be good to know more about that, about neighborhood groups, perhaps, and others in Peninsula communities they’ve reached out to and worked with.

We’re not aware that Surf Air has responded. Haven’t seen their response in the Comments Section of that Oct. 6 article or in the Comments Section of another article in The Almanac on Oct. 12 (we posed the same questions in that article). And we’re aware that a copy of the Comments Section post in The Almanac (with the questions) was sent to Surf Air’s PR Team.


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