Take Air Brings Surf Air Model to Europe

 - February 12, 2015, 11:04 AM

On March 30 a new membership airline plans to take to the skies in Europe hoping to emulate the success of Surf Air in the U.S. Take Air will begin operations with a single King Air 200 operated by Brussels-based Abelag under Abelag’s AOC, and is selling membership for €1,650 a month. For that fee, members can fly any time on Take Air’s scheduled flights, starting with Antwerp (its base) to Zurich at 7 a.m., for the first of two rotations a day.

Founder and CEO Matthieu Dardenne told AIN that Take Air is “the newest aviation company in Europe and the first new one in Belgium since 2003. It’s a whole new concept [for Europe,] too, an all-you-can-fly membership airline.” Asked whether it is similar to Surf Air in the U.S., he said “absolutely.”

Abelag is the launch operator, starting the service with a King Air 200, but Dardenne said the company hopes to transition to a King Air 350 “quickly.” He said that Take Air expects to reach 100 members by the time it launches at the end of March and then will take expressions of interest from others. “We have 30 members now but a company can take several, so some have membership for three, four and five. We’ll raise the 100 cap as membership grows.” Initially there is a three-month tie-in and then members need to give only one month’s notice.

Dardenne is starting Take Air with business partner Carl Legein, who runs a broker called The Aviation Factory, which has an online anywhere-to-anywhere route selector (meaning any main or GA airport pair in the world).

Asked about London flights, as featured on Take Air’s website, Dardenne said, “We want to do London and we are negotiating with some airports, but every London airport has its restrictions.”