Surf Air Mobility | May 19, 2022
Surf Air Mobility, a company working to accelerate the adoption of green aviation, announces that it has entered into a definitive agreement, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approval, which will result in a merger with Southern Airways Corporation, parent company of one of America’s largest commuter airlines. Southern Airways serves 39 cities across the Mid-Atlantic, Gulf South, Rocky Mountains, West Coast, New England, Hawaii, and soon the Far Pacific. The merger will establish the Company as the country’s leading air mobility platform with scheduled routes and on-demand charter flights operated by Southern and other third-party operators.
The definitive agreement coincides with Surf Air Mobility’s announcement today that it plans to go public through a merger with Tuscan Holdings Corp. II, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain closing conditions.
The merger with Southern Airways, along with its affiliated brand, Mokulele Airlines, will enable the combined companies to create a national air travel platform and to accelerate efforts to commercialize hybrid electric aircraft. The ability to serve more consumers through the integration with Southern, the largest passenger operator of Cessna Caravans in North America, provides Surf Air with a powerful foundation to introduce its proprietary electrified powertrain technology to the market.
Surf Air Mobility intends to upgrade Southern’s current fleet of nearly 40 Cessna Grand Caravans to hybrid electric aircraft using technology developed along with magniX and AeroTEC, two pioneers and market leaders in aviation innovation and electrification. Cessna Grand Caravans are the most prolific aircraft in their category, with over 2,800 delivered.
“Southern Airways sees the regional routes between 50 and 500 miles that we’re currently flying as the quickest, most practical solution for bringing electric air travel to market. We’re excited to be a part of Surf Air Mobility’s mission to electrify aviation and to bring sustainable innovation to market faster,” said Stan Little, Chairman and CEO of Southern Airways, who will continue to run the airline post-merger and will serve as president of Surf Air Mobility.
“The addition of Southern Airways will allow us to more rapidly bring green flying solutions to real flyers. Southern’s fleet of Cessna Caravans will be the foundation for the next generation of aircraft as we upgrade the fleet to hybrid electric powertrains. Our first generation of electrified aircraft will meaningfully decarbonize aviation and help alleviate the environmental impact of flying by targeting emission reductions by as much as 25 percent versus conventional propulsion systems.”
Carl Albert, Chairman of Surf Air Mobility
About Surf Air Mobility
Surf Air Mobility is a Los Angeles-based electric aviation and air travel company reinventing flying through the power of electrification. The company will bring electrified aircraft to market at scale in order to substantially reduce the cost and environmental impact of flying. The management team has deep experience and expertise across aviation, electrification, and consumer technology. Surf Air Mobility is the parent company of Surf Air Inc, and has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Southern Airways Corporation.
About Southern Airways Corporation
Founded in 2013, Southern Airways Express is one of the largest commuter airlines in the United States. Operating a fleet of Cessna Caravans and King Air Super 200s, among other fleet types, Southern and its Hawaiian subsidiary, Mokulele Airlines, serve 39 cities with more than 240 peak-day departures from hubs at Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Honolulu, Kahului, Los Angeles, Memphis, Nantucket, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Washington-Dulles. In Hawai‘i, Mokulele serves more airports with more flights than any other airline. Southern has interline agreements with American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.
DESIGN AND ENGINEERING
ZeroAvia | December 21, 2021
ZeroAvia, the leader in hydrogen-electric, zero-emission aviation, has added two new senior hires, and a new member to its advisory board, as it prepares to ramp up growth over the next 12 months.
James McMicking joins as ZeroAvia's first Vice President of Strategy from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) - the body in charge of developing the technology strategy for the UK aerospace sector. As one of the original executives to set up the ATI, McMicking held several positions throughout the business over seven years, including its Head of Strategy and Operations.
A mechanical engineer by training, McMicking brings experience covering advanced R&D, business and innovation strategy, and transformation. At the ATI, McMicking worked extensively with organisations throughout the aerospace tech sector and UK Government to support world-class research and development, navigate complex strategic challenges and catalyse innovation.
At ZeroAvia, McMicking is now responsible for building a strategic roadmap for the business, both from a commercial and technical point of view to reach its 2024 target, working in collaboration with CEO Val Miftakhov and the rest of the executive team.
Meanwhile, Arnab Chatterjee also joins the business as Vice President of Infrastructure. Prior to ZeroAvia, Chatterjee spent almost a decade at Shell working on low carbon fuel, digital, e-mobility, and renewable energy solutions in a range of technical, commercial and strategy roles. Most recently, he has been driving Shell's efforts in hydrogen at a global scale. Chatterjee has a background in chemical product development, venture investments and corporate development. He has a PhD in electrochemistry from the University of Oxford.
At ZeroAvia, Chatterjee will be responsible for working with aviation and energy industry partners to deliver the hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure required to support the adoption of hydrogen-electric propulsion.
Commenting on his new role, Arnab Chatterjee said: "Seeing ZeroAvia's aircraft in the sky for the first time last year was a real lightning bolt moment, and I have followed the R&D progress closely. With a 19-seat aircraft close to flight testing and commercialisation a little over two years away, ground infrastructure requires equal focus to ensure our success in transforming the future of flight. It is an exciting challenge ahead."
In addition, joining ZeroAvia's advisory board is Jim Peterson. An expert in propulsion integration, Peterson brings over 35 years of experience from his time at Boeing where he was Chief Engineer of Propulsion, responsible for integrating engines into various Boeing airframes.
"We're delighted to have these three remarkable leaders on our team, Adding strong strategic firepower to the business, as well as industry-leading expertise to continue our rapid R&D advancement, will help us to take things to a new level in 2022."
-Val Miftakhov, CEO, ZeroAvia.
The executive and advisory board additions bookend an enormously successful year for ZeroAvia. Beyond being named one of the world's most innovative companies by Fast Company and a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, the company made significant strides on its R&D. It completed 35 test flights of its six-seat prototype, part of the UK Government-backed HyFlyer I project.
The company also ramped up work on the HyFlyer II project, focused on delivering its commercial entry product, a 600 kW hydrogen-electric powertrain for 10-20 seat aircraft. In September, ZeroAvia welcomed its Dornier 228 testbed aircraft to its new base at Cotswold Airport, immediately beginning work to install its powertrain technology, and the team is already well advanced in preparation for flight testing early next year.
ZeroAvia raised over $70 million in 2021, taking the total to $115 million, with the most recent round of $35 million announced in December. The company also increased its headcount to nearly 100 employees globally.
ZeroAvia also announced several highly significant commercial deals throughout the year's final quarter, amounting to more than 460 commitments for hydrogen-electric engines and several important joint development programmes. In the second half of the year, ZeroAvia also cemented a number of deals, including an intention to develop one of the world's first commercial zero-emission routes from London to Rotterdam the Hague Airport, investment and purchase options from airlines such as Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, and partnerships with a variety of aviation players such as De Havilland of Canada, Rose Cay, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, ASL Aviation Holdings, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Regional Jet division. The total number of engines (excluding spares) for in service or stored aircraft produced by the OEMs that ZeroAvia has signed deals with stands at over 7,000, showing the scale of the opportunity.
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions to address a variety of markets, initially targeting 500-mile range in 10-20 and 40-90 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, cargo, agriculture, and more. Based in the UK and USA, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for two prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, and is on track for initial commercial operations of its technology in 2024. The company's expanding UK operations are supported by grants from UK's Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, and ZeroAvia is part of the UK Prime Minister's Jet Zero Council.
Nova Capital | December 02, 2021
LCI, a leading aviation leasing company, announces an agreement to acquire Nova Capital Aviation (Ireland) Limited, a division of the Nova Capital Group.
Nova Capital Aviation (Ireland) Limited represents the twin-engine rotary and fixed-wing aircraft lease division of the Nova Capital Group, with single-engine operations remaining within the Group.
The acquisition will result in a substantial expansion of LCI's leasing platform to over 140 twin-engine rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. It will also take the proportion of aircraft deployed on emergency medical services (EMS), search and rescue (SAR), off-shore wind and utility missions, to over 80% of the entire leasing platform.
"The Nova brand is highly regarded, and is a major presence in the mission-critical EMS market which perfectly complements our own. Our agreement reflects the current trend towards industry consolidation, and is testament to the robust leasing platform we have built. It expands our customer base, introduces new aircraft types to our fleet, and cements LCI's long-term commitment to growth."
- Crispin Maunder, Executive Chairman of LCI
Last year, Nova Capital further expanded its fleet with the addition of eight factory new twin-engine EMS helicopters valued at over US$90 million, reaching half-a-billion total fleet value at 2021 year-end. Nova Capital will now focus on the development of its single-engine helicopter, light utility fixed-wing aircraft, and other advanced air mobility operations, in partnership with LCI.
"Over 20 years, we have developed a market-leading leasing operation that specialises in providing asset financing solutions to helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft operators, primarily in onshore mission critical services. We are delighted to conclude this agreement with such a complementary business as LCI. Their proven leasing platform, extensive experience in both the fixed-wing and rotary-wing leasing markets, and immersion in mission-critical helicopter operations, makes them a natural choice. I am looking forward to continuing Nova Capital's journey, under this new set-up and exciting partnership"
- Olivier Piot, Founder and CEO of Nova Capital
LCI has consistently grown in scale and value as it has diversified over time. The lessor's highly experienced management team has built strong relationships with manufacturers, customers and leading financial institutions, and has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the fixed-wing and helicopter markets since its inception in 2004.
Since its inception in 2004, LCI has undertaken in excess of US$8 billion of transactions in the fixed-wing and helicopter markets. LCI is owned by Libra Group (www.libra.com), an international business group with 30 subsidiaries active in 35 countries across six continents. Libra Group's subsidiaries are focused on six core sectors: aviation, energy, hospitality, real estate, shipping, and diversified investments.
About Nova Capital
Founded in 2002, Nova Capital is a privately owned aviation investment platform, with offices in Ireland, France, and Portugal. The company provides asset financing solutions to Helicopter and fixed-wing Aircraft operators primarily in the on-shore mission critical services space. Nova Capital has established a wide network of valued business partners including major aircraft and helicopter operators, manufacturers, and also financial institutions.