Wheels Up offers pilots equity grants

By Doug Gollan, September 24, 2021

The Pilot Employee Equity Grant provides equity ownership to Wheels Up full-time and part-time controlled fleet pilots 

Wheels Up is offering a Pilot Employee Equity Grant. The grant will provide equity ownership to pilots.

All full-time and part-time controlled fleet pilots on the Wheels Up pilot seniority list as of August 31, 2021, as well as all newly hired controlled fleet pilots from September 1, 2021, onwards, are eligible.

“We have the best pilot force in the industry. They play an integral role in our Wheels Up brand and always provide our members and customers with exceptional service. It is a true honor to award this equity grant to our deserving pilots,” Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up’s founder and chairman tells Private Jet Card Comparisons.

The news was expected.

According to an SEC filing before its IPO, “Following the closing (of its merger with Aspirational), subject to applicable securities laws requirements, it is expected that the Wheels Up board of directors will implement a special pilot award program, pursuant to which a special one-time equity grant will be made under the 2021 Plan to pilots flying the Wheels Up controlled fleet of aircraft (inclusive of all Wheels Up operating subsidiaries) who are full-time employees at the time of the grant.”

A spokesperson added, “Wheels Up’s continued investment in their pilots is a top priority, as they are one of the company’s most important resources as one of the employee groups that interact directly with members. This new equity grant is in addition to the company’s generous benefits package.”

Wheels Up pilot training and experience

Captains must have at least 3,500 hours of flight experience, but average 7,000+, while First Officers average 4,000+ hours. Each pilot is required to hold current FAA Airline Transport Pilot and First-Class Medical Certificates and be FAA Pilot-in-Command Type-Rated in the aircraft they fly.

Wheels Up pilots complete mandatory advanced ground and flight training in a full-motion simulator, plus recurrent training every six months. They are given comprehensive instruction in first aid, emergency drills, and survival techniques. Each flies with an experienced Standards Captain post-training; Pilots-in-Command receives an extra FAA check ride.

Additional details were not disclosed.

As demand for private jet flights hits record levels, demand for pilots has increased. Wheels Up owned, leased, and the managed fleet is around 350 aircraft. Recently, it marked adding its 50th Citation X.

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