The good news in recent days and weeks in the private jet segment has been multiple signs of recovery, both in terms of flying and influx of new customers.
Another positive has seen the philanthropic efforts of business aviation throughout the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
Netjets, VistaJet, XOJET, and Wheels Up are among private jet operators that have been donating flights to move medical personnel and supplies. Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriot, has used his team’s private Boeing 767 to bring protective gear from China for hospitals.
One non-flying initiative is Meals Up. Launched by Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter, the program, he says, was inspired by ambassador and star NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
Dichter and Wilson debuted the effort on CNBC with the goal of enlisting other high-profile supports targeting a donation of 10 million meals through Feeding America.
Joining in to spread the word and make donations were Tom Brady, Jennifer Lopez, and Alex Rodriguez, among others.
Yesterday on Twitter, Wheels Up announced it has now been able to provide over 12 million meals to those in need who have been impacted by Covid-19.
Asked about what’s next, Dichter tells Private Jet Card Comparisons, “We’re just getting started.”
In the past year, Dichter, who founded Marquis Jet Partners, before selling it to NetJets in 2010, has transitioned Wheels Up from a membership program to the largest Part 135 operator.
After buying light jet operator TMC Jets, he acquired Delta Private Jets, in a move that made Delta Air Lines his largest investor. He then tied the ribbon by acquiring Gama Aviation Signature, which had been operating the Wheels Up branded fleet.
In December, Wheels Up revamped its core membership offering, adding large-cabin jets and also moving from fixed to capped rates. Under the new program, members can save money, but also have a fixed hourly rate representing the maximum charge.
Private Jet Card Comparisons has been donating $75 from each subscription during April and May to Feeding America and expects to donate over 100,000 meals.