Delta takes biggest stake in Wheels Up

Alud Davies
By Alud Davies December 12, 2019 18:33

Delta takes biggest stake in Wheels Up

Delta Air Lines executive jet division Delta Private Jets has taken a stake in Wheels Up.

Although the terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, Kenny Dichter, founder of Wheels Up, told CNBC that Delta will be the biggest investor in his company.

Once the deal has been approved, the two companies’ partnership will have one of the world’s largest fleets of owned and managed aircraft.

Wheels Up says that it currently has 119 aircraft in its fleet and Delta has just over 70.

Delta and Wheels Up are officially calling the deal a partnership, although Bloomberg reports that Delta has sold its private-jet division to Wheels Up in return for an unspecified equity stake in Wheels Up.

“This ground-breaking partnership will democratize private aviation – making the convenience of private-jet travel accessible to more consumers,’ said Ed Bastian, CEO Delta Airlines. “Wheels Up’s lifestyle experiences and innovative digital platform, combined with the scale and service of Delta Private Jets, helps further Delta’s mission of connecting people and communities worldwide through travel. This agreement is the latest step in Delta’s ongoing effort to build partnerships that extend Delta’s brand beyond its core business.”

The differences between the types of aircraft that each company operates is notable.

Wheels Up is well known for its large fleet of Beechcraft King Air turboprops, although it does operate a small fleet of Cessna Citation business jets.

Delta Private Jets fleet of 70+ fleet of all-jet aircraft includes some of the same Cessna Citation business jets that Wheels Up owns, but also includes mid-size and large-cabin jets, including several Gulfstreams.

“Bringing together our complementary businesses, which represent the best consumer brands in private and commercial aviation, is transformative and a first for the industry,” said Kenny Dichter, founder and CEO, Wheels Up. “The combination of Wheels Up and Delta Private Jets, along with the partnership commitments between Delta and Wheels Up, aligns with our growth objectives and vision of building a platform that will make private flying and the private flying lifestyle accessible to significantly more individuals and businesses in the US and around the world.”

Alud Davies
By Alud Davies December 12, 2019 18:33

One Minute Week Newsletter