Wheels Up closes Air Partner acquisition

By Doug Gollan, April 1, 2022

According to a notice on its website, Air Partner is now part of Wheels Up

Wheels Up closed on its acquisition of U.K.-based Air Partner. The $107 million deal was announced earlier this year on January 27.

There was no official announcement. However, a pop-up on the Air Partner website reads, “Air Partner is now part of the Wheels Up family.”

According to a report in Market Screener, the sale was completed late yesterday. The British broker of private jet charter, jet cards and other aviation services expects to delist its shares on the London bourse’s main market on April 4.

Air Partner
Wheels Up has closed on its $107 million acquisition of U.K.-based Air Partner, according to a notice on the Air Partner website.

The acquisition brings Wheels Up into a number of new business lines, including cargo charter and security services.

However, there is speculation that some of the units acquired over the past several years by Air Partner could be spun off.

Air Partner had been seeking to diversity from its core private jet charter business.

Wheels Up International Expansion

On the other hand, its Air Partner’s European on-demand charter and jet card program and customer base will provide the foundation for Wheels Up’s international expansion.

Wheels Up had been the largest U.S. player without an international footprint.

NetJets has been a significant player in Europe for more than two decades.

Directional, which owns Flexjet, Sentient Jet, and FXAir, has been expanding in Europe since its 2018 acquisition of PrivateFly. In 2020, it launched Flexjet in Europe.

Vista Global, which is rooted in Europe, has been expanding into the U.S., including yesterday’s agreement to buy top 10 player Jet Edge.

Earlier this year, it said it would buy Air Hamburg, a major floating fleet operator in Europe. It has been expanding its U.S.-based XO brand to Europe and the Middle East.

Last year, it began adding a dedicated XO fleet in Europe.

Wheels Up will now have the opportunity to expand its footprint beyond its American roots, a key part of its post-IPO growth plan.

Air Partner is one of three deals so far this year by Wheels Up. In January, it acquired light jet operator Alante. Earlier this week, it acquired a minority interest in Tropic Ocean Airways, a seaplane operator, as part of its last-mile strategy.

So far in 2022, there have been 10 M&A deals involving charter operators and brokers that have membership programs.

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