Wheels Up is buying its fifth operator, Scottsdale-based Alante Air Charter adding a dozen Citation CJ3 and CJ4 light jets
The deal adds 12 Wifi-equipped CJ3, CJ3+, and CJ4 light jets to the Wheels Up fleet and 39 pilots.
Alante joins TMC Jets (June 2019), Delta Private Jets (December 2019), Gama Aviation Signature (March 2020), and Mountain Aviation (January 2021).
Additionally, Wheels Up added tech platform Avianis in September 2019. Last week, it entered into an agreement to buy U.K.-based charter broker Air Partner. That deal is expected to close this quarter.
According to its website, Alante offers management and aircraft sales, in addition to on-demand charter. It was founded in 2014.
It was part of Wheels Up’s vetted third-party operators prior to the acquisition.
Alante has 17,000 square feet of office and hangar at Scottsdale Airpark.
“Over the past year, we have partnered with Alante Air as a trusted third-party operator, which has served our members well during a period of unprecedented demand in private aviation,” said Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
He added, “This acquisition further improves our operational efficiency and ability to offer members and customers access to a larger fleet of light jets, arguably the most in-demand category of aircraft in the industry.”
Securing light jet lift
It’s the smallest of Wheels Up’s acquisitions. However, there are only around 60 U.S charter operators with more than 10 jets on their certificate, according to Tuvoli.
The acquisition puts Wheels Up in a dead heat with Directional Aviation for second place among U.S. charter and fractional flight hours.
According to Private Jet Card Comparisons, as of December 2021, average jet card pricing for light jets was up 15.9% since December to $6,978 per hour. That includes an 8.3% increase in Q4 2021.
Earlier this week, Wheels Up said it had rescinded blackouts for new members imposed back in November.