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.
Earlier this year it had said it had hired Bank of America and Goldman Sachs to advise it on strategic initiatives.
New to the company’s roster of institutional investors from this round are funds managed by Franklin Templeton, which co-led the round with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research, along with other institutional and private investors.
The company’s post-money enterprise valuation is north of $1.1
billion, according to the release.
The pay-as-you-go membership program is broadening its customer base with its new $2,995 Connect Membership while launching a light jet program, anchored by the Citation Encore+, with a fixed hourly rate.
Wheels Up is no longer a two-trick pony. After five years making its mark principally on the back of King Air 350i with the help of the midsize Cessna Citation Excel/XLS, the New York-based privation aviation membership company is taking two big steps today. First, it is moving to fulfill founder and CEO Kenny Dichter’s vision of democratizing private travel even further with its new Connect Membership, which is focused on the concept of sharing flights, booking charter and accessing signature events.
Kenneth Dichter, Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Vinayak Hegde, President Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Bergeron, Chief Operating Officer Eric Jacobs, Chief Financial Officer Lee Applbaum, Chief Marketing Officer Stephanie Chung, Chief Growth Officer Dan Crowe, Chief Information Officer Gene McKenna, Chief Product Officer Lee Gossett, Chief Flight Operations Officer Greg Greeley, Chairman, Wheels Up Marketplace Gail Grimmett, Chief Experience Officer Laura Heltebran, Chief Legal Officer Jason Horowitz, Chief Business Officer Francesca Molinari, Chief People Officer Ken Napolitano, Chief Sales Officer Daniel Tharp, Chief Platform Officer Phil Dodyk, Chief Aircraft Management Officer Gregg Fahrenbruch, Executive Vice President Ravi Thakran, Director Timothy Armstrong, Director
Delta Air Lines, Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle, Avianis, Mountain Aviation
Wheels Up Experience Inc. is the new name of Wheels Up Partners Holdings LLC following its merger with Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp. It continues to be known as Wheels Up.
It is the largest Part 135 operator and has the second-largest fleet for hire in the U.S., behind NetJets. In a 20-month span through January 2021, it acquired TMC Jets, tech platform Avianis, Delta Private Jets, Gama Aviation Signature, and Mountain Aviation.
The acquisition of Delta Private Jets made Delta Air Lines the largest shareholder in the company (Review private jet fractional and membership company M&A activity with our PRIVATE AVIATION DEAL BOOK.) Following Wheels Up’s IPO Delta Air Lines remains the largest shareholder.
It has a wide variety of partnerships, including the NFL Players Association, Porsche, American Express, Costco, Landry’s, Waldorf Astoria, and Inspirato.
It is also launching a helicopter service via a partnership with Textron Bell later this year.
The company was founded in 2013 by its CEO Kenny Dichter and veterans of Marquis Jet Partners. It is based in New York City.
Following a SPAC merger with Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle, Wheels Up is a pure play publicly traded private jet operator and broker. It trades on the NYSE under the symbol UP.
Wheels Up is included in Private Jet Card Comparisons’ database of over 50 jet card providers, enabling you to compare programs in minutes.
When was the company founded?
Who owns Wheels Up?
The company is publicly traded on the NYSE as UP. Delta Air Lines is the largest shareholder with 52 million shares, representing 17.6% of common shares. Fidelity related entities hold 17 million shares. Founder Kenny Dichter owns 15.4 million shares, representing 5.2% of equity as of July 2021. CFO Eric Jacobs and CBO Jason Horowitz each hold approximately 1.8 million shares.
Who is the CEO?
Kenny Dichter is the founder and CEO. He previously founded Marquis Jet Partners in 2001 generating approximately $4 billion in jet card sales before selling to NetJets in 2010.
How are aircraft sourced?
The company uses owned and managed aircraft, plus private jets from vetted charter operators. As of July 2021, it has approximately 170 owned or leased aircraft, 170 managed aircraft, and its partner operators control 1,200 aircraft.
The first-year initiation fee for families and individuals is $17,500 for its Core membership. Renewal is $8,500. It also has a corporate program, while the Wheels Up Connect program targets flight-sharing and is priced at $2,950. In addition to selling directly to the public, since 2015 a Wheels Up Costco partnership allows members of the big-box retailer to join at a discount.
Do they provide guaranteed availability?
Yes, with limited exceptions based on program level
Is the hourly rate guaranteed?
Yes. On its Core Membership and Corporate Membership, Wheels Up offers capped hourly rates. It then tries to provide lower rates using its owned and managed fleet of over 350 aircraft and an additional safety-vetted fleet of over 1,200 private jets and turboprops.
Can jet card holders/members use multiple aircraft at the same time?