The private jet and turboprop provider says its jet card membership program is reaching a wider audience
Private aviation membership provider Wheels Up has added KKR to its roster of investors, securing $90 million in debt financing as part of its plan to grow to 75 King Air 350is. It also operates the Citation XL/XLS. CEO and Founder Kenny Dichter broke the news this morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box. He said the deal closed this past Friday. There was no information on the investment posted on either of the company’s websites. Other investors include Fidelity and T. Rowe Price. The company was launched in 2013.
In Private Jet Card Comparisons’ ongoing Elevator Pitch series, private aviation innovator Kenny Dichter gives a 300-word sales pitch on why you should consider Wheels Up. Dichter was a co-founder of Marquis Jet Partners in 2001 helping popularize the jet card concept. After selling Marquis Jet to NetJets, he launched Wheels Up on the back of the King Air 350i, a plane he calls the Land Rover of private aviation. You can read Dichter’s message here.
Wheels Up plans to reach 10,000 “sticky” members by 2020 its CEO Kenny Dichter told a gathering of aviation executives at the Wichita Aero Club’s monthly luncheon yesterday, according to a local newspaper report.
This is a bit confusing to a lot of people. NetJets is the world’s largest operator of private jets. It is owned by Berkshire Hathaway whose CEO is one of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffett. NetJets has an arm called Executive Jet Management, or EJM, that manages private jets on behalf of their owners. NetJets sells fractional shares in private jets. This is akin to a time share where you actually own part of a specific jet, but then get access to the fleet. The minimum share you can buy is 50 hours representing 1/16th of a plane.