Here’s how much Wheels Up paid for each of its 5 acquisitions

Wheels Up Kenny Dichter

Kenny Dichter and Wheels Up doled out less than $100 million in cash to build the second-largest private jet operator with a $2 billion valuation

When Wheels Up’s acquired 5th-biggest Part 135 charter operator Mountain Aviation in January, it pushed the group past Directional Aviation’s Flexjet as the second-largest for-hire private aircraft operator in the U.S. For Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter, it was a day at the beach compared to another cold New York winter morning in early 2019. At that point, Wheels Up didn’t operate a single aircraft. Founded in 2013, its owned and leased fleet was outsourced to Gama Aviation Signature. Wheels Up was a big brand. Yet, it was merely a marketing organization selling memberships onto what was then mainly a fleet of King Air 350i turboprops.

Biggest Private Jet Operators of 2020 led by NetJets, Flexjet, Wheels Up and Vista Global

NetJets Flexjet

NetJets stayed firmly in the top spot among U.S. private jet operators as Wheels Up zoomed from 11th to 3rd place, while Flexjet, Vista Global, and Jet Linx each made gains

Charter (Part 135) and Fractional Operator (Part 91k) flights accounted for 52.5% of total U.S. private aviation flight hours, pushing Part 91 flying below the half-century mark for the first time, according to Argus TRAQPak data dating back to 2007

The 10 largest U.S. charter and fractional operators accounted for 44.3% of Part 91k/135 activity and 23.2% of total business aviation flight hours

TRAQPak’s 2021 forecast indicates full recovery tilted towards second-half

The takeaways from the 2020 Argus TRAQPak annual review of private jet activity in the U.S. underscores two key trends: Consolidation and acceleration of what has a nearly decade-long move from full private jet ownership to fractional shares, leases, jet cards, and on-demand charter. Looking ahead, Argus analysts don’t expect the total industry to return to pre-COVID-19 numbers until the second half of 2021.

Biggest Part 135 private jet charter companies for 2020 ranked

Largest private jet charter operators 2020

Argus TRAQPak’s list of the largest U.S. private jet charter operators highlights the active mergers and acquisitions market

Argus TRAQPak’s list of the 25 largest U.S. Part 135 private jet operators ranked by flight hours highlights the industry’s frenetic merger and acquisition activity. Ten of the private jet charter operators were involved in transactions. Part 135 includes on-demand and jet card flights

Private jet charter operators ripe for mergers and consolidation

private aviation mergers

Expect more mergers and consolidation with Part 135 private jet charter operators, says one investment bank

The Part 135 private jet charter market is ripe for consolidation and outside investment. That’s according to Brooks Crenshaw, managing director of Balmoral Advisors.

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