Delta’s stake in Wheels Up soars to $520 million

Delta Air Lines Ed Bastian

The value of Delta Air Lines’ stake in Wheels Up increased to $520 million from $210 million, surpassing its 13% holding in Korean Air

Delta Air Lines’ decision to sell Delta Private Jets has yielded a huge gain on paper. It’s up over 100% just since the fourth quarter. In its latest 10-Q filing, the Atlanta-based airline increased the carrying value of its 24% interest in Wheels Up to $520 million. That makes the New York-based private aviation company its largest equity ownership stake.

Inside Wheels Up’s plan to be the Amazon of private jets

Wheels Up stock price

In advance of its public listing on the New York Stock Exchange, the company presented analysts its lofty ambitions to revolutionize private jet access

Wheels Up founder Kenny Dichter believes the addressable market for private aviation can grow from its current $31 billion to $80 billion by 2025. It plans to be a key driver. Here’s how…

A detailed overview of each presentation during Wheels Up’s Analyst Day

“So if you’re tired of the same old story…turn some pages.” – REO Speedwagon

Ready or not, Kenny Dichter and Wheels Up plan to change the face of private jet access. It’s a big leap from marketing ploys like selling memberships through Costco. Beyond stump speeches at industry conferences, there will be the harsh spotlight from being a publicly traded company. If he’s successful, the lifelong entrepreneur will find his name alongside aviation innovators such as Pan Am founder Juan Trippe, former American Airlines chairman Robert Crandall, who ignited revenue management and frequent flyer programs, and inventor of fractional private jet ownership, Richard Santulli. The latter created NetJets, the world’s largest private jet operator, and gave Dichter his entree into the industry. In fact, Dichter might fly higher than all of them. Success would make Dichter the Jeff Bezos of private jets.

In a two-hour presentation to financial analysts Friday morning, the founder and CEO of Wheels Up, along with his leadership team, discussed various milestones, projected growth, and insights on where it’s coming from. More than that, they unveiled a dramatic vision for a private aviation marketplace they say could more than double the addressable market by 2025, democratizing the segment down to low single-digit millionaires. It will certainly be key in their plan to grow revenues from $695 million last year to over $2.1 billion by 2025.

Here’s how much Wheels Up paid for each of its 5 acquisitions

Wheels Up Kenny Dichter

Kenny Dichter and Wheels Up doled out less than $100 million in cash to build the second-largest private jet operator with a $2 billion valuation

When Wheels Up’s acquired 5th-biggest Part 135 charter operator Mountain Aviation in January, it pushed the group past Directional Aviation’s Flexjet as the second-largest for-hire private aircraft operator in the U.S. For Wheels Up founder and CEO Kenny Dichter, it was a day at the beach compared to another cold New York winter morning in early 2019. At that point, Wheels Up didn’t operate a single aircraft. Founded in 2013, its owned and leased fleet was outsourced to Gama Aviation Signature. Wheels Up was a big brand. Yet, it was merely a marketing organization selling memberships onto what was then mainly a fleet of King Air 350i turboprops.

Wheels Up launching loyalty program, redemptions for Delta SkyMiles members; Opens flights to non-members

Wheels Up

Wheels Up quietly started allowing non-members to book charter flights. It’s also launching a frequent flyer program and will allow Delta SkyMiles members to redeem miles on Wheels Up

Wheels Up has quietly begun allowing non-members to book charter flights through its app. The New York-based private aviation provider will also launch a frequent flyer program for its private jet customers by the end of the year. At the same time, members of the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program will be able to redeem miles for Wheels Up products and services.

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