Jet Edge expands fleet with $75 million from KKR

KKR has now invested $265 million in Top 10 charter operator Jet Edge in the past year.

By Doug Gollan, January 11, 2022

The new funds are being used for 20 additional large and super-midsize private jets

Charter operator Jet Edge International has raised an additional $75 million of funding from credit funds and accounts managed by KKR. The new funding expands KKR’s total credit and equity investments to $265 million over the past year. Last June, the private equity firm provided an initial $150 million credit facility.

According to a release, the company will utilize the funding to further expand its large-cabin and super mid-size fleet with 20 additional aircraft to be delivered in the first half of this year.

The move comes as the industry is facing a capacity crunch amid record demand. Charter and fractional flights were 71% above New Year’s week levels in 2019/2020, according to data from WingX.

“With KKR support, Jet Edge has grown the Reserve Membership program to record numbers,” said Jet Edge International CEO Bill Papariella.

He added, “KKR’s most recent investment in Jet Edge speaks to its confidence in our mission to deliver scaled private aviation solutions with industry-leading service and new capital to support those efforts with continued fleet growth.”

The operator added 27 additional charter aircraft to its fleet in 2021. The next batch will bring its fleet to 95 aircraft.

Jet Edge Reserve jet card sales

In early November, Jet Edge said it had passed the $100 million mark in jet card sales for 2021. It also launched an end-of-year promotion.

According to an executive, the company added $80 million in Reserve deposits during the November and December window. That would put in on a run rate of $500 million in annual jet card sales.

In December, it expanded its long-flight fixed pricing, adding a $54,500 one-way large cabin rate between California and Hawaii.

Jet Edge vs. NetJets

It also targeted Papariella’s former company with advertising billboards. The location is outside of NetJets’ private terminal at the busy Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles.

A week later, the world’s largest private jet company hit back with a thinly veiled swipe.

In an end-of-the-year email to customers, NetJets executives wrote, “Because most of our competitors don’t have our level of financial security, some are dropping their rates or creating new incentives to generate short-term cash despite short industry supply and record demand.”

Jet Edge has positioned its AdvantEdge program for aircraft owners as an alternative to fractional ownership.

Patrick Clancy, Director at KKR, said: “In a challenging environment, the Jet Edge team are executing on their strategy and have delivered impressive growth for the business in 2021 while maintaining a disciplined operating platform that puts their customers first. We are excited to increase our investment in order to further support the growth of Jet Edge’s fleet as they continue to expand their innovative Reserve membership and AdvantEdge product lines.”

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