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.

Jet Card Aircraft Options 101, including pricing and costs

private jet

Light Jet, Large Cabin Jet, Turboprops, or specific types such as the Embraer Phenom 300?

Your guide to finding the perfect cabin category, or private jet (and turboprop) specific Jet Card for your needs

Jet cards are the fastest-growing segment of private jet charter. Over the past decade the number of companies offering jet memberships more than doubled.

Private Jet Card Comparisons has cataloged over 55 providers, including all the key players such as NetJets (both Elite and Marquis Jet card), Flexjet, Sentient, Wheels Up, Delta Private Jets, JetSuite, Jet Linx, VistaJet, PJS Group, Magellan Jets, and XO. In total, there are more than 300 programs so you can find the right one.

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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.

Wheels Up has purchased Travel Management Company

Wheels Up

The deal, which is being announced this morning, and closed Friday, adds 26 light jets to the Wheel Up fleet

Wheels Up announced this morning that it has closed a deal to acquire Elkhart, Indiana-based Travel Management Company (TMC), a significant fleet operator of owned and leased light jets serving the on-demand charter market. The deal will increase the current Wheels Up fleet to 119 owned and leased aircraft. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

For Wheels Up founder Kenny Dichter, who helped popularize jet cards by launching Marquis Jet Partners in 2001 before selling it to NetJets in 2010, the move comes after he announced in January he had hired Goldman Sachs and Bank of America to provide advice on strategic options.

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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