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.
The jet card membership company said it will use the money for accelerating membership growth and possible acquisitions
Wheels Up said that it has completed its Class D equity capital raise of $128 million, according to a press release received by Private Jet Card Comparisons. The funds will be used to accelerate membership growth, fund technology investment, and perhaps even more acquisitions. In 2017, it raised $117.5 million in equity capital and $90 million in debt financing via KKR.
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 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.
After bringing turboprops mainstream by championing the King
Air 350i, Wheels Up is now filling out its product offerings
There are probably few privately held companies that get as
much airtime on the business cable networks as Kenny Dichter and Wheels Up, his
entry second entry into the world of jet cards. His debut in 2001 was an
exclusive agreement with NetJets to sell jet cards onto its fractionally owned
fleet. Instead of having to buy at least 50 hours per year with a five-year
commitment, Marquis Jet Partners offered the opportunity to buy in 25 hours at
The pay-as-you-go jet card membership club is moving towards “consolidation”
What’s next for Wheels Up? The company with its fleet of approximately 100 King Air 350i turboprops, Citation Excel/XLS midsize jets and Citation X super midsize aircraft is stirring some intrigue after its founder and CEO Kenny Dichter appeared yesterday morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
Wheels Up Super Bowl Play