Surf Air Mobility’s strategic move into electric aviation took a new twist this week when the flight booking platform said it will be going public on its own following the termination of its $1.42 billion merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Tuscan Holdings Corporation II. The “mutually agreed” termination was approved by both companies’ board of directors, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In a separate, confidential filing S-1 with the SEC this week, Surf Air announced plans to pursue a direct listing of its common stock. The plan awaits approval from the SEC. A Surf Air spokeswoman told AIN that the company could not comment further on the termination of the Tuscan Holdings merger nor its plans for a direct listing.
Surf Air announced the SPAC merger in May, expecting to raise about $467 million in funding for its plan to integrate electric aircraft into the fleets of its partner operators.
That deal came on the heels of the company’s plans to acquire hybrid-electric propulsion pioneer Ampaire falling apart in April, 14 months after they were announced in February 2021. Ampaire is working to secure an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) to convert the Cessna Grand Caravan, and also has plans to switch other larger existing aircraft to hybrid-electric power.
After falling out with Ampaire, Surf Air said it would press ahead with its own plans to convert the Grand Caravan, working with a rival propulsion system developer MagniX and airframe modification specialist AeroTec. It too is seeking an STC to convert existing aircraft.
Last month, Surf Air signed a $450 million facility with Jetstream Aviation Capital to fund the planned growth of its own turboprop fleet. In an October 11 announcement, Jetstream, a U.S. leasing group specializing in commercially operated turboprop regional aircraft and engines, also agreed to purchase up to 250 hybrid- and all-electric propulsion systems for existing aircraft from Surf Air.
Los Angeles-based Surf Air said it plans to gain access to the financing facility over the next six years to acquire both new and used Cessna Caravan and Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, subject to separate binding purchase and lease agreements for each individual aircraft. Jetstream intends to take delivery of the 250 hybrid and fully electric powertrains from Surf Air over the course of five years, subject to FAA certification and the negotiation of pricing terms and the minimum commitment and definitive documentation.