US membership-based operator Wheels Up has raised $115 million from a handful of private investors to fund its next phase of expansion.
Kenny Dichter, founder and chief executive of the New York headquartered company, says the latest round of financing will underwrite Wheels Up’s growth in the US and fund the programme’s planned foray into Europe, which is set for late 2016.
The capital will also be used to improve Wheels Up’s IT systems and pave the way for the introduction of a bespoke “ride-sharing feature” for its 1000-plus members.
Wheels Up was launched in 2013 on the back of a record order for 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin-engined turboprops, of which 39 are now in service. The inventory also includes 10 pre-owned, customised Cessna Citation Excel/XLS business jets.
The Wheels Up fleet is operated by Gama Charters, the US subsidiary of UK-headquartered business aviation services provider Gama Aviation. This operating partnership is likely to be extended to Europe, where Gama is already a long-established King Air maintenance provider and operator.
The Farnborough-headquartered company has, since 1993, been flying and supporting two King Air 200Cs on behalf of the Scottish air ambulance service.
Source: Flight International