Tony Hsieh-backed startup airline adding Las Vegas flights

Surf Air

A Surf Air plane sits on an airport tarmac.

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Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, gives a keynote address at the South By Southwest V2V tech conference for entrepreneurs at the Cosmopolitan Monday, Aug. 12, 2013.

A startup airline that offers all-you-can-fly membership and is backed by Tony Hsieh could soon be shuttling wealthy travelers between Las Vegas and Southern California.

Surf Air said today that, pending federal approval, it plans to launch weekend service March 21 between McCarran International Airport and both Hawthorne Municipal Airport, about 12 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, and Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

Las Vegas would be the airline’s first destination outside California.

The company plans to fly once on Fridays, once on Saturdays and twice on Sundays between Las Vegas and the two airports.

It’s a potentially lucrative market for Surf Air, whose members have named Las Vegas one of their most desired destinations, CEO Jeff Potter said.

Moreover, Las Vegas gets a quarter of its roughly 40 million annual visitors from Southern California, according to GLS Research.

“We expect it to do extremely well,” Potter said.

For what’s now a monthly fee of at least $1,350 — it’s expected to jump March 21 to $1,599 — Surf Air members can fly as often as they want on a fleet of seven-passenger, turboprop Pilatus PC-12s, with free airport parking, no lines and no hidden fees, the company says.

Members can bring a guest for $650 per one-way flight.

Based in Santa Monica, Surf Air began flying last summer and has up to 18 flights a day. It offers service to and from the San Francisco Bay area, Santa Barbara and metro L.A.

The carrier would operate on the west side of McCarran’s airfield with other private and corporate aircraft.

Surf Air has raised at least $5 million from investors, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Potter said he is looking to raise more.

VegasTechFund, launched by Zappos chief Hsieh and his partners to pump money into startups, invested $500,000 in Surf Air about a year ago, partner Andy White said.