The gloves appear to be off in San Mateo County’s fight against Surf Air, just as the airline prepares for a major expansion.
On July 6 the attorneys hired by the county to consult on aviation matters filed a legal document with the federal Department of Transportation, claiming Surf Air is deceptively using another company as a front, and asking for an investigation.
The county, which owns and operates the San Carlos Airport, has been trying to figure out how to deal with the noise complaints that began pouring in soon after Surf Air began using San Carlos for scheduled flights in June 2013.
The airline flies Pilatus PC-12 turboprops and offers unlimited flights for a monthly fee. Surf Air says it currently has 40 flights (20 round trips) a day using the San Carlos Airport.
The county has been frustrated in its attempts to address the noise complaints, which now number in the thousands each month. Because Surf Air’s planes carry fewer than nine passengers, under Federal Aviation Administration regulations they may operate out of the general aviation airport. The airport is considered a “reliever airport,” keeping small planes out of busy regional airports.
The law firm of Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell filed the document opposing a June 15 application made by Encompass Aviation for authority to operate flights between states as a commuter air carrier. Encompass, which in mid-May took over Surf Air’s flight operations, currently can only fly within California.
But Surf Air, which recently acquired a similar Texas-based airline, RISE, has announced it plans to have five-day-a-week flights between California and Texas within the year and to be flying to nine…
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