Can the Netflix Business Model Actually Work for Commercial Aviation in Central Europe? It Is Complicated!


The case discusses SurfAir’s entry into the European market. SurfAir is a California-based subscription-only airline, serving business routes with small aircraft. For a flat fee, subscribers can fly as much as they want on SurfAir’s network. The case describes their entry into the market entry and development of their network, as well as changes in their business model. Whilst SurfAir initially operated one jet on their Zurich-London route, this route was soon discontinued. Instead, SurfAir partnered with another jet operator offering single seats. In December 2018, a little more than a year after starting their European venture, SurfAir closed their European operations. This case illustrates SurfAir’s business model, describes their entry into the European market, and allows students to develop an understanding of reasons why the venture was not successful in this context.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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