Wheels Up adds camouflage King Air 350i to its fleet

By Doug Gollan, November 2, 2019

It’s the fourth King Air to be painted as part of philanthropic initiatives from Wheels Up Cares

Wheels Up yesterday unveiled a camouflage-painted Beechcraft King Air 350i aircraft as part of its Wheels Up Cares philanthropic initiative.

The Wheels Up Camouflage Plane has a custom livery that was created and painted by Textron Aviation Inc. and honors those in the military who bravely served and continue to serve our country, while benefiting the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a non-profit organization that offers compassionate care to those grieving the loss of a military loved one.

The Camouflage Beechcraft King Air 350i will remain indefinitely in the Wheels Up fleet to serve as a flying symbol of TAPS’ mission.

We created the Wheels Up Cares program to showcase our support of important causes by leveraging our fleet of aircraft

Kenny Dichter, founder and CEO, Wheels Up

Additionally, Wheels Up will be making a donation to TAPS, and all pilots flying Wheels Up planes will wear camouflage pins throughout the month of November in support of the campaign, according to a press release.

Wheels Up Cares

“We created the Wheels Up Cares program to showcase our support of important causes by leveraging our fleet of aircraft,” said Kenny Dichter, founder and CEO of Wheels Up in a prepared statement.

Wheels Up King Air 350i

He added, “The four planes in the program are flying symbols of these charities’ incredible missions and we are proud to align with TAPS for our latest addition to the fleet.”

TAPS was founded and 1994 and since that time has provided comfort and hope through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones.

TAPS has assisted more than 90,000 loved ones grieving the death of a military hero and continues to receive an average of 19 new survivors every day.

“Wheels Up and Textron truly represent what is best about America – they recognize freedom is not free, honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and ensure the families of our fallen heroes will be taken care of. We are forever grateful for their steadfast support,” said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS founder and president and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.

King Air 350
Wheels Up King Air 350i

Along with the Camouflage Plane and TAPS, Wheels Up Cares recognizes American Heart Month in February with its Red Plane in support of the American Heart Association and Simon’s Heart, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September with its Teal Plane in support of the Janet Burros Memorial Foundation, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October with its Pink Plane representing the company’s ongoing commitment to the Dubin Breast Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai in New York City.

More Wheels Up acquisitions?

On the aviation side, Wheels Up has been busy this year. It has raised $128 million while launching a new entry-level membership program, plus fixed-rate programs for both light and super-midsize jets in addition to its fleet of King Air 350is and Citation Excel/XLSs. Most recently it has made acquisitions, buying light jet operator TMC Jets and technology platform Avianis.

During the National Business Aviation Association’s annual conference held last month in Las Vegas, Dichter said Wheels Up will be adding fixed rates for large-cabin jets.

It is also thought that Wheels Up is looking at additional acquisitions as it seeks to fortify its spot in what’s shaping up as a four-way race with market leader NetJets, Kenn Ricci’s Directional Aviation, which includes Flexjet, Sentient Jet, and PrivateFly, and recently launched a new technology platform. Plus, there’s Thomas Flohr’s Vista Global. After setting up the Dubai-based holding company in late 2018, the founder of VistaJet has used it as a vehicle to acquire XOJET and JetSmarter, which he recently merged into a new brand XO.

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