Wheels Up buys Gama Aviation Signature growing its fleet to over 300 private aircraft

Wheels Up buys Gama Signature Aviation

The acquisition follows the purchase of Delta Private Jets, Travel Management Company, and Avianis, and squares it up against NetJets

Wheels Up is looking to move closer to NetJets and pull away from Directional Aviation and Vista Global Holdings. Its acquisition of Gama Aviation LLC this morning gives it over 300 owned and managed aircraft.

Gama Aviation Signature, as it is known, already was managing the Wheels Up fleet of King Air 350i, Citation Excel/XLS, and Citation X aircraft.

It follows its acquisitions of Travel Management Company last June and Delta Private Jets, completed in January.

Private Jet deliveries see big gains in 2019

New private jet deliveries 2009 to 2019

Business Jet delivers reached their highest total since 2009, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association

Many of the new aircraft will find their way to both fleet and fractional operators providing access to shareowners and jet card customers

Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by

Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye

– Bruce Springstein

No doubt, many of those involved in manufacturing private jets recall fondly 2008. That’s when the industry delivered 1,317 new business jets. It was an increase from 2007’s then-record mark of 1,137 new private jets delivered. That busted the 2006 numbers, also a then-record of 887 units delivered.

With the Great Recession, deliveries of new private jets dropped to 874 units in 2009, even more to 767 in 2010, then 696 in 2011, before bottoming out in 2012 at 672 aircraft.

Wheels Up unveils major program enhancements

Wheels Up

Wheels Up becomes the first major jet card provider to offer four guaranteed availability jet cabin categories and a turboprop program on a national basis

What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, rumors were swirling. Wheels Up was expanding beyond its core King Air 350i and Citation Excel fleet with an off-fleet light jet program.

The new programs, effective January 2nd, will offer dynamic trip pricing with capped hourly rates and guaranteed availability nationwide. They will run across five cabin categories, from its King Air 350i fleet to light, midsize, super-midsize, and large jets.

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.”

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.

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