Wheels Up has acquired Avianis in play to enhance customer experience

Following its $128 million raise last month, and acquisition of Travel Management Company with 24 light jets over the summer, Wheels Up has made a tech buy

Wheels Up has acquired Avianis Systems, LLC, for an undisclosed amount. It comes just six weeks after raising $128 million in a Class D Equity Round giving the New York-based private aviation membership company a billion-dollar valuation. The deal was first reported by Corporate Jet Investor in advance of its Revolution.aero conference being held today and tomorrow in San Francisco.

Booking a private jet should be as easy as booking a car with Uber or booking a home with Airbnb

Kenny Dichter, CEO, Wheels Up

Avianis, according to its website, provides a comprehensive platform approach to managing a complete flight operation in one system. In its pitch to its B2B customers, it claims, “This enables a more holistic and cyclical view of the entire business that allows you to stay in touch with every detail of your business in one web-based platform.”

Vista Global’s XO is now offering empty legs to non-members

After the June merger of JetSmarter and XOJET, the new FlyXO.com has been tweaking the jet sharing part of its offering

Vista Global is continuing to put its stamp on its XO brand since merging JetSmarter and XOJET at the beginning of the summer. First, it added JetSmarter’s jet sharing functionality to the former XOJET dynamic jet card pricing memberships.

The move meant that XO Select and Signature memberships could all of a sudden share seats on flights they had booked with their deposits. Elite members who get fixed rates can’t share seats on those flights, but otherwise, get all the perks a JetSmarter member received.

XO also tweaked Select Access and non-member options. In essence, there are two versions of Select Access. But the big news is non-members can now book seats on at least some empty legs.

Wheels Up adds capped hourly rate, guaranteed availability Super Midsize jets

The new program follows its light jet program introduced earlier this year.

When Wheels Up’s Kenny Dichter told Squawk Box on CNBC in January that it was working on strategic initiatives, common wisdom in the industry was the founder and CEO was following a similar move by XOJET in 2018, which ultimately led to its acquisition by Vista Global and merger with JetSmarter.

It hasn’t turned out that way.

Weeks later came Connect, a new entry-level membership, priced at $2,995 designed to increase the addressable mark of customers who want to share flights to save costs.

Buying a jet card? Remember, there are options for cabin size or picking a specific aircraft type

Will any light jet do, or would it be better to have a specific type such as the Embraer Phenom 300?

While there are many variables that separate the over 300 jet cards in the Private Jet Card Comparisons database – over 65 in fact, one difference means a lot to some people and nothing to others.

However, for both types of buyers, choosing the wrong type of program can make for a less than enjoyable experience despite the provider’s overall merits. Figuring it out before you sign can both save you money and make sure the program fits your mission needs.

There are essentially two ways that available aircraft are structured for fixed-rate (and usually guaranteed availability) programs by jet card providers.

One is by cabin-class or size. When buying into a cabin class you are assured of getting an aircraft in that class or larger if you are lucky enough be upgraded based on operational needs.

The other is by specific aircraft make or type, for example, you are buying into an Embraer Phenom 300. So while the provider may let you fly in other types, you know when you want a Phenom 300, you’re going to get a Phenom 300 and not some other type of light jet.

NetJets, Wheels Up, Jet Smarter and JetSuite compared

NetJets, Wheels Up, JetSuite, JetSmarter

The four most searched private aviation companies on Google are very different, although they also have some similarities

In the world of private aviation solutions – fractional ownership, leases, jet cards, memberships, seat sharing, semiprivate airlines, and so forth, four companies have generated the most interest, according to Google Trends. Surprisingly, perhaps, they are each quite different once you get past the fact that they all want to fly you somewhere.

In terms of interest, Wheels Up (red) followed by NetJets (blue), JetSmarter (yellow) and JetSuite (green) are the most search private aviation companies. Source: Google Trends
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