US membership-based private aircraft firm Wheels Up has acquired charter operator Travel Management Company (TMC) in a move designed to broaden its fleet of “high quality” light business jets and enhance the service offering for its 5,000-plus members.
TMC’s 26 Hawker 400XPs will join Wheels Up’s 93-strong all-Textron Aviation fleet operated by Gama Aviation. The branded line-up consists of 15 superlight Cessna Citation Excel/XLSs, six super-midsize, high-speed Citation Xs and 72 King Air 350i aircraft. The latter are from a 2013 order for 105 of the twin-engined turboprops, and form the backbone of Wheels Up’s membership programme.
Kenny Dichter, founder and chief executive of the New York-based company, calls the acquisition “a foundational piece in our continued brand evolution and mission to provide our members with a total private aviation solution”.
The 400XPs will continue to be operated by Elkhart, Indiana-based TMC and will form part of Wheels Up’s new charter marketplace offering, which allows members to book ad hoc flights from “safety-vetted and verified charter operators”.