With the move, Wheels Up will offer members fixed rates from the King Air 350i through light, midsize, super-midsize and large cabin private jets
Following its acquisition of TMC Jets and Avianis, plus the launch of its Connect membership earlier this year, and flush with $128 million in new funding, Wheels Up continues its aggressive moves.
During the National Business Aviation Association’s annual conference being held in Las Vegas, founder and CEO Kenny Dichter said in the next year the company will launch a no-cost membership enabling users to book on-demand charters using dynamic pricing the from its Wheels Up Marketplace launched in February.
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 AirbnbKenny 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.”
The jet card provider is expanding its push on jet sharing via a partnership with WSJ+
Subscribers to the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ+ are being offered a significant flight credit with the purchase of a Wheels Up Connect Membership for $2,995. Wheels Up introduced the new entry-level price point earlier this year to increase the pool of members who want to share flights with its existing base who charter flights using fixed one-way rates and guaranteed availability.
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 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.