Wheels Up Joins VistaJet, JetSuite, Victor and Jet Smarter in raising money to fund ambitious expansion plans
Ka-ching. Jet card membership seller Wheels Up said earlier today it had completed an equity capital raise of $117.5 million. The money comes less than four months after the company said it had received a $90 million aircraft financing facility from KKR. Wheels Up said AccorFidelity Management & Research Company and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. led this current round and were joined by existing investor, NEA as well as new institutional investors. The company initially set out to raise $100 million but agreed to upsize the offering based on significant investor demand, according to a press release. Wheels Up is now valued at close to $700 million, with an enterprise value north of $1 billion, again according to the company.
Zetta Jet is focused on long-haul private jet charter and jet card programs for the global traveler
Zetta Jet USA, Inc., previously known as FKA Advanced Air Management, has filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Private Jet Card Comparisons has learned from reviewing court filings. The filing was made with the Central District of California – Los Angeles. Singapore-based Zetta Jet had been growing quickly and its website lists 11 tail numbers currently part of its fleet. In June, its Managing Director Geoffrey Cassidy told Corporate Jet Investor, the company expected to take delivery of four Global 6000s this year, along with three Challenger 650s by the end of the year. In the filing, Zetta Jet PTE Ltd. is listed as controlling 100% of equity security in Zetta Jet USA, Inc. which could also raise issues about foreign control.
VistaJet focuses on global flying and earlier this year waived ferry fees for program members
Rhône Capital has invested $150 million of cash into VistaJet, the company said today in an announcement. The release said with secondary acquisitions, Rhône will have a $200 million stake in VistaJet. The deal gives the operator of luxury private jets ”a post-money basis in excess of $2.5 billion,” according to the companies.
VistaJet Direct is the name of a new private jet membership program the operator has quietly started rolling out. While not calling it a jet card, like its Programs that target frequent global Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) travelers, royalty and Chairmen/CEOs, it is a prepaid product.
Buying a jet card or a prepaid private aviation program has many benefits, mainly not having to go to the bazaar everytime you fly as you would with on-demand charter where you have to not only compare prices, but the standards for the planes and pilots being sourced, repositioning fees, and extras such as de-icing in the winter. With most jet card programs, it also means getting guaranteed availability if you book within a contracted lead time, 24/7 customer support and service recovery.
VistaJet is planning to abolish ferry flight fees for new Program customers globally as it extends the waiver to South America and Australia. An announcement is expected next week during EBACE in Geneva.
Several private jet operators are saying the possible laptop ban for transatlantic flights is unlikely to spur much incremental business. One-way flights between the U.S. and Europe to charter an entire plane runs $60,000 to $100,000.