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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Wheels Up has just acquired Mountain Aviation, which has the largest and growing Part 135-operated Citation X fleet in the United States, with bases in Denver, Teterboro, and Southern California.

Over the last 18 months Wheels Up has acquired several large private aviation companies.

In mid-2019 Wheels Up acquired Travel Management Company (TMC), a wholesale jet charter operator with a fleet of 26 Hawker 400XP light jets.

Next came the acquisition of Delta Private Jets at the end of 2019, making Delta Airlines a significant shareholder in Wheels Up. Delta Private Jets offers charter flights and jet cards on a managed fleet of more than 70 light, mid-size, super-midsize, large and long-range jets.

Then, in early 2020 Wheels Up acquired Gama Aviation Signature, a leading private aviation services company that provides aircraft management, private jet charter, and ancillary support. Gama Aviation Signature has been the exclusive operator of the Wheels Up fleet of King Air 350i, Citation Excel/XLS and Citation X aircraft since Wheels Up was launched in 2013.

Wheels Up says this latest acquisition will serve increasing flight demand from its rapidly growing membership and charter marketplace. Mountain Aviation's wholesale charter operations and super mid fleet are a good complement to the wholesale floating fleet of light jets from TMC. Wheels Up will add 59 total aircraft, most of which are Citation X aircraft, to its fleet and also plans to further expand the Citation X fleet in 2021, to enable a consistent experience for Wheels Up members and customers and drive efficiencies in aircraft maintenance.

"We've come to know and greatly respect Mountain Aviation's talented team over the past few years and are excited to welcome them officially to our Wheels Up family," said Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up Founder and Chief Executive Officer. "We are aligned on culture, forward vision, and business goals. This acquisition further strengthens the Wheels Up suite of products and services that we offer to our Members and Customers and enhances our unique total aviation solution positioning."

MTN Aviation Citation X exterior

The addition of Mountain Aviation's full Part 145 maintenance capabilities housed across seven hangar facilities will accelerate the build out of Wheels Up's in-house maintenance function and capability, adding expected efficiencies across the Wheels Up operations. In addition, Wheels Up will offer comprehensive managed aircraft services to Mountain Aviation's existing managed customers as part of the Wheels Up Aircraft Management platform. Wheels Up will also broaden its customer base by servicing recently awarded and a growing government defense contract business and expanding the Wheels Up provision of services to medical transportation customers. Mountain Aviation's legacy technology will migrate onto Wheels Up's cloud-based Avianis technology platform, aiming to create greater efficiencies and offering more automation and streamlined services for Wheels Up members and customers.

"This is an exciting day for all of us at Mountain Aviation," said Gregg Fahrenbruch, Mountain Aviation, CEO. We are proud of what we've built and thrilled to join Kenny and the Wheels Up team to continue to expand and grow. It's remarkable to see how Wheels Up, with their vision to democratize, digitize, and disrupt, is transforming the industry."

The membership programs at Wheels Up allow members to prepay for flight hours, rather like a jet card program. The larger the pre-payment the better the benefits, such as fewer peak days.