Surf Air Mobility Inc. misses on earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $-1.28 EPS, expectations were $-0.28. SRFM isn’t one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here).

Operator: Good afternoon and welcome to the Surf Air Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Earnings Call. Please note that this call is being recorded. All participants are now in listen-only mode. After the speakers’ remark, there will be a questions-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] I’ll now turn the call over to Bill Margaritis. You may begin your conference.

Bill Margaritis : Thank you, operator. Welcome to Surf Air Mobility’s fourth quarter 2023 and full year 2023 earnings call. I’m joined today by Stan Little, Surf Air’s CEO; Oliver Reeves, Surf Air’s CFO. Please note, we released our Q4 2023 results this afternoon, which are available in filings with the SEC and on Surf Air’s investor page at Before we begin, I will remind everyone that during this call, we may discuss our outlook and future performance. These forward looking statements may be proceeded by words such as we expect, we believe, we anticipate or similar such statements. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and are actual results could defer materially from the views expressed today.

Some of the risks have been set forth in our earnings release and our periodic reports filed with the SEC. During today’s call, we will also present both GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures. Additional disclosures regarding non-GAAP measures, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP measures are included in the earnings release we issued earlier today, which has been posted on the investor relations page Surf Air Mobility’s website and in our filings with the SEC. With that, I’ll turn the call over to Stan.

Stan Little: Thanks, Bill, and thank you everyone for joining our call today. We are pleased with our overall performance in both the fourth quarter and the full year 2023. I’m grateful to our team for delivering financial results that met or beat our guidance. The company recorded $112.9 million in revenue, up 12% year-over-year, beating our 2023 guidance and negative $50.9 million in pro-forma adjusted EBITDA, including investment in electrification and software achieving our 2023 guidance. 2023 was a transformative year for Surf Air Mobility as evidenced by our completion of two big milestones. Our direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange and the completion of our merger with Southern Airways, we’re also pleased with the integration of Southern Airways and Surf Air.

In just seven months, we’ve made strides in defining the strategic path ahead, bringing on new talent and building key partnerships. We’ve also made steady progress in expanding our leading regional airline network, developing proprietary powertrain technology to electrify the Cessna Grand Caravan and advancing our AI driven software platform with the supportive Palantir. Our aircraft as a service platform model will enable independent owner operators to join our platform where they will benefit from electrification technology, state-of-the-art software and aircraft financing or a bundle of all three. Over time, our aircraft as a service model will enable us to expand our operational ecosystem and grow our off fleet products. Our partnership with Palantir Technologies and continued investment in our software platform are core to these efforts and we intend to offer access to our software to operators prior to launching electric powertrains.

The expansion of our network over time and our steadfast commitment to and investment in electrification should enable us to capture a meaningful portion of the emerging regional air mobility market. According to McKinsey & Company, by 2035, the total global market for regional air mobility will be between $75 billion and $115 billion for trips between 100 and 500 miles. We believe that electrification will have a transformative effect on the unit economics of regional flying, as it will drive down direct operating costs considerably. According to McKinsey, the emergence of regional air mobility will also create the need for financing and distribution and other software services that are not currently being offered at scale to this segment of the market.

We plan to address these needs for ourselves and for third parties through our software, products and aircraft as a service offerings. We’re pursuing these initiatives in partnership with some of the most sophisticated technology companies in the aviation space. Textron Aviation, one of the world’s largest airplane manufacturers is providing us with new caravan aircraft under a preferential agreement. Palantir Technologies, a multi-billion dollar software company that builds enterprise data platforms for organizations with highly complex and sensitive data needs is deeply involved in co-developing state-of-the-art software for our regional air mobility platform. The tools we’ve been developing with Palantir leverage AI to improve our operational efficiency, our customer experience and service levels and our back office intelligence across Surf Air’s three air travel brands.

More specifically, as we continue to integrate our companies Palantir has supported the aggregation of financial and sales data across multiple systems into a unified dashboard and reporting platform. We’ve been building a data warehouse of near real-time flight information and aircraft positioning to facilitate more efficient operator outreach for our on demand charter fulfillment. We also designed a framework to help drive recommendations for potential new markets and route expansions. And finally, we are continuing development of an AI enhanced crew scheduling application that factors things like crew availability, maintenance schedules and compliance guidelines to enhance our decision making and improve the safety and efficiency of our flights.

This work with Palantir has laid the foundation for our platform to be able to host and provide access to these tools for unlimited air operators beyond our own brands. We’re also working with AeroTEC, one of the most accomplished aerospace engineering firms in the world to develop the engineering specifications for our proprietary powertrain technology and to jointly work through the FAA certification process. These and other partnerships provide us with an even deeper bench, faster time to market and efficient R&D spend. Since our earnings call in November, we’ve announced several new key agreements to advance our growth plans and scope of services, including providing commuter air service between Williamsport, Pennsylvania and Washington DC and bringing air service to Purdue University for the first time in over 20 years connecting their university with Chicago.

These two new routes will be subsidized by local and private entities, including large costs without the need of the essential air service program. They will provide crucial regional transportation and are the first of what we believe will be many new subsidized partnerships with other airports, cities and institutions. The Surf Air Purdue partnership is groundbreaking on several levels. In addition to connecting one of the world’s premier aviation universities to U.S. and international air service connections with frequent daily flights, it will provide a major boost to businesses along the emerging I65 tech and distribution corridor. One leading industry analyst has already dubbed this non-federal subsidy program, The Southern Airways effect.

Prdue launches on May 15 and Williamsport on May 23. Agreements like those with Purdue and Williamsport are so important because while in placements worldwide have already surpassed pre-COVID levels and yields remain strong. Major airlines and their regional jet partners are still phasing out 50 seat aircraft. They are shrinking operations in smaller regional markets, thereby limiting customer options, which leaves a void we can fill Southern’s. Business development leadership is actively engaged in identifying the best growth opportunities with minimal financial and resource risk. As a reminder, Surf Air provides two types of air services scheduled and on demand charters. These businesses grew 11% and 18% respectively in 2023 on a year-over-year pro-forma basis.

We recently integrated both Southern and Mokulele ticketing functionality onto, which is an important step in integrating the brands. We encourage all of you to go to our websites and see the brand synergy. I’m pleased to report that we have made considerable progress in overcoming the recent supply chain challenges and aircraft grounding that impacted our service levels throughout the latter part of 2023 and early 2024. Our maintenance teams have undertaken extensive efforts to work through supply chain challenges that have impacted the availability of parts over a prolonged period, and because of our unique pilot training program, we have cultivated a full roster of pilots to staff our bases in 2024. We will continue to pursue synergistic opportunities between our scheduled and on-demand charter networks, further modernizing and streamlining our operations as we grow the business.

As part of our continuing efforts to upgrade the talent of our team, we’ve recently hired two aviation industry veterans. As new deputy Head of Airline Operations, Louis Sanur has had a successful career with both Hawaiian Airlines and WestJet. Louis will oversee things like fuel purchasing arrangements, ground handling and crew travel and accommodation costs, always with an eye on cost efficiencies. Additionally, he is introducing a new crew rostering platform designed by Palantir to drive efficiencies in how we optimally pair crews with a goal of reducing total crew numbers required. Louis also has an extensive history in customer experience and will be highly focused on optimizing our customer satisfaction scores. We’ve also hired a new Director of Maintenance for Southern Airways, Thomas Andino, who brings over 30 years of experience in aircraft maintenance, including overseeing maintenance programs at both Virgin America and Spirit Airlines.

Tommy has many years of knowledge of both the Cessna Caravan and the Pilates PC12 as well. We were thrilled to have found this combination of big airline and small airplane experience when we found Tommy. We are highly confident that the combined leadership and deep experience that Louis and Tommy bring to the company will help elevate the overall performance and reliability of our airline operations going forward. Additionally, we have expanded our technology team to include new experts with deep experience across consumer transportation and logistics marketplace and distribution. Working closely with our partner Palantir, this team will lead the software development for Surf Air’s consumer technology and air operations, while building the tools for third party operators as part of our aircraft as a service offering.

We are making solid progress with our electrification initiative along with our lead partner AeroTEC, and are currently in the latter half of our conceptual design phase. That means we’re in the final stages of vendor selection for key components, including battery and electric motor suppliers. Additionally, we’re working with the Caravan’s avionics manufacturer Garmin to integrate the powertrain with the aircraft displays. Our exclusive relationship with Textron is a real competitive advantage as it enables us to work more closely with Garmin and other key vendors on these critical components. Alongside the supplier selection work, our design of the powertrains integration to the aircraft is progressing well. We intend to electrify our existing fleet using fully electric and hybrid electric powertrain technology once it’s fully designed, developed and certified.

Due to the timing of availability for the optimal components for our powertrain, we believe we will obtain STC certification of the fully electric powertrain by early 2027 and for the hybrid electric powertrain sometime thereafter. Given this timeline, we remain confident that we can still be the first to market with an electric commercial regional passenger aircraft. To further this goal, we’ve made great progress signing up new customers for our proprietary powertrainand refined MOUs with several new partners in Africa including Safarilink, Yellow Wings, Orec Air Services and Z Boskovic, all Cessna caravan operators to upgrade their aircraft with our electric powertrains. These providers are looking to Surf Air to substantially lower the carbon emissions of their caravan fleet, reduce operating costs and deliver on their mission of protecting Africa’s natural ecosystem and wildlife.

These MOUs represent 13% of the total caravan fleet flying on the entire African continent. So if you recall from our Q2 earnings release last year, we offered long term guidance that 10% to 15% of the caravan market would be electrified or in contracts to be electrified. We believe these early successes demonstrate progress toward those goals. To enhance our platform offering Surf Air also entered into an LOI with Electra Aircraft to commercialize their electric planes once certified. We will jointly develop a leasing partnership to enable new operators to expand access to regional transportation and we will collaborate on fleet wide data analytics services to provide real time aircraft information on Surf Air’s network. We have also secured preferred delivery positions for 90 Electra eSTOL that is electric short take-off and landing aircraft that will be available to us or our operator partners.

Before I turn the call over to our new CFO, Oliver, I want to thank all our team members across the company who make our customers journeys exceptional today, while working to transform regional flying through electrification tomorrow. Their hard work is paying off and I’m grateful to them. Now I’ll turn things over to Oliver.


Oliver Reeves : Thanks Stan, and thanks to you all for joining us on the call today. As Stan mentioned, we are pleased with our financial performance with revenue beating and pro-forma adjusted EBITDA meeting 2023 guidance. I began my role at Surf Air Mobility this January. I joined the company because I’m excited about the growth and profitability potential of the nascent regional air mobility market, the transformative potential and positive environmental impact of our electric planes, and the related technological advances we are planning to bring to the market over time alongside our partners such as Palantir. My background is in finance, enterprise software and insurance. I joined because of the company’s transformative vision as well as the caliber of the team.

I would like now to thank this team for its warm welcome, and I’m excited to roll up my sleeves as we continue to fine tune our strategy. Now let me turn to the numbers. On a GAAP basis, the company reported fourth quarter revenue of $26.8 million full year revenue of $60.5 million. On an unaudited pro-forma basis, which assumes that Southern acquisition closed as of the beginning of fiscal year 2023. The company reported $27.4 million of revenue in the fourth quarter flat year-over-year and $112.9 million of revenue for the full year, up 12% year-over-year. Our on demand platform, which includes both Surf Air and Southern’s charter businesses, continues to be a key source of growth, with revenue up 18% and departures up 36%, all on a pro-forma year-over-year basis.

We are continuing to see very positive trends here exiting Q1, and we will update you further on our next call. Pro-forma adjusted EBITDA, which assumes that the southern acquisition close as of January 1, 2023, was negative $18.4 million for the fourth quarter as compared to negative $12.6 million for the same period last year and a negative $50.9 million for the full year. While we continue to invest in growth, our path to electrification is capital efficient and de-risk when compared to our competitors. This is because we have chosen to electrify an aircraft with an existing SEC rather than pursue a clean sheet design. We have taken an impairment of the goodwill recorded in the Southern acquisition based on our interpretation of the applicable accounting standards, which require a point in time determination of fair value, which affords little credit to the benefits of our electrification and software initiatives.

Given the operational challenges faced by the Southern business unit, particularly in the fourth quarter and declines in our share price and market capitalization in the fourth quarter. Our objective projections for the operations of Southern indicated in the impairment in Q4 2023 leading to the charge. This impairment is not a referendum on the business, nor will it alter our commitment and efforts in executing our core strategy for Southern network expansion, refleasing software driven margin improvements and electrification. Turning to liquidity as of December 31, 2023, 1 Surf Air Mobility had $1.7 million of cash on hand, with the ability to draw $92.5 million in committed draws and $297.3 million in follow on draws from the GEM share subscription facility.

As previously mentioned, we amended the facility in the third quarter of 2023 to give us more flexibility in the amounts and timing of equity sales to match our capital needs. This flexibility will help us more effectively manage dilution as we execute our business plan. Our cash on hand reflects the balancing of our working capital needs with the dilution of GEM cash advances. In aggregate, the GEM facilities should provide adequate capital to finance our investment in network growth, software development and notification over the short to medium-term. With that said, we will be strategic with regard to our capital needs, including a continuous search for ways to optimize our capital structure, lower our cost of capital and enhance shareholder value.

As part of our overall reconfiguration of our planning, we look ahead to the delivery of our first new Textron aircraft. We are now expecting delivery of eight aircraft in total in Q3 and Q4. Instead of our original expectation of 11 across the year. The delay is due to an issue with custom Surf Air specifications that we had ordered from Textron. As a reminder, we intend to use our $450 million leasing facility we have in place with JetStream, the largest aircraft leasing company in the U.S. for regional turbo prop aircraft to finance our fleet. In terms of other uses of capital, our priorities include, technology to advance specification of our electrified powertrain, investment in our core direct to direct-to-consumer passenger booking platform, development of aircraft as a service software for operators in conjunction with Palantir and working capital to support growing the existing airline network.

Our first quarter of 2024 guidance is, revenue in the range of $28.5 million to $29.5 million, pro-forma adjusted EBITDA in the range of negative $17 million to negative $14 million, which excludes the expected impact of stock-based compensation and other non-recurring items. Looking ahead in 2024, we are firmly committed to balancing growth of profitability, expense reduction and disciplined capital allocation focused on high ROI opportunities, including potential route expansions. As I close this call, I would like to formally invite anyone interested in a deeper dive into our business to join us for Surf Air Investor Day on June 7 at the New York Stock Exchange. This event will be accessible virtually and a replay will be available on our website.

As part of our Investor Day, we will be providing a comprehensive strategic update on the business in addition to providing full year 2023 guidance. A press release with further details will be issued closer to the date and we hope to see many of you there. With that, operator, we will take Q&A.

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