Surf Air (URF, Santa Monica) has raised USD200 million in advance of plans to go public and has also hired aviation veteran Fred Reid as its chief strategy officer, Bloomberg reported.

Surf Air recently completed the acquisition of online aviation marketplace BlackBird, creating Surf Air Mobility Corporation, whose “mission is to transform the 50-400 mile [80-650 kilometre] mobility market.”

Now it is expected to announce imminently that it has secured a USD200 million investment commitment from New York-based investor Global Emerging Markets Group (GEM), Surf Air chairman and chief executive Sudhin Shahani told Bloomberg.

An initial public offering is also on the table, and an advance of USD50 million will be available from GEM on the first day of public trading, with further tranches possible over a three-year period.

According to Bloomberg, the company will go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, a direct listing, or an IPO. It intends to use the proceeds to develop and acquire zero-emissions technologies.

“The launch of Surf Air Mobility Corp. and our acquisition of aviation marketplace BlackBird were the first steps in our original goal to bring the benefits of private aviation to the masses,” Shahani said.

“Now, we look to help drive the industry’s inevitable electrification, as that will play a critical role in making private travel accessible to all. The USD200 million commitment and USD50 million advance from GEM gives Surf Air Mobility the power to continue adding organic growth, executing strategic new initiatives, and acquiring leading technology players in the space.”

Surf Air is a membership-based air mobility platform that offers flights on a fleet of PC-12NG turboprops operated by Advanced Air Charters (AN, Hawthorne) between cities in California and Texas, Las Vegas and Phoenix, according to its website. In February, it claimed to have raised more than USD125 million so far in venture capital funding.

Surf Air has also hired Fred Reid as chief strategy officer, Bloomberg revealed. In 2004, Reid joined Richard Branson to launch Virgin America as its chief executive and afterwards served as president of Flexjet, and has been a senior advisor to the CEO at Airbnb.

Recently he was president of the Kitty Hawk International Cora programme, now known as Wisk, where he supervised the development of its first autonomous electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. He has also held positions at American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Lufthansa.

In addition, Surf Air has recruited Wings West Airlines founder Carl Albert to its board, along with Edward Mady, USA Regional Director for the Dorchester Collection hotel chain.