Airshare has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to purchase Wheels Up's aircraft management business. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions.
Airshare Background & Expansion
Airshare was founded in 2000 and has grown to offer a full suite of private aviation solutions including fractional ownership, jet cards, aircraft management, charter services and third-party maintenance.
It operates a fleet of Challenger super-midsize and Phenom light jets for their day based fractional jet and EMBARK jet card programs. It also manages a fleet about 30 different aircraft from King Air turboprops to large cabin Bombardier Globals and Gulfstreams, with some of these managed aircraft also available for charter.
Kansas based Airshare has been extending its geographic footprint, including recent expansion into Chicago and South Florida, and its addition of Challengers to the fractional fleet has seen it doing many more longer distance trips. With this potential acquisition, Airshare would have aircraft management customers nationwide, setting the stage for faster growth in aircraft management, fractional and charter programs and continuing the company's long-term expansion plans.
"Our management team has worked diligently to establish a strong foundation for us to intelligently grow the company, and this potential acquisition is a direct result of those efforts," said John Owen, President and CEO of Airshare. "Aircraft management has become a core source of revenue for Airshare. Adding aircraft capacity and valuable owner relationships to our rapidly expanding managed fleet positions us very well for the future."
Wheels Up Chairman of Operations Dave Holtz said the company is looking forward to working closely with Airshare through the process as a proven operator with a strong record of success in the aircraft management space.
"Airshare has our same dedication to the customer and focus on extraordinary service, and we believe this will be a great destination for our managed fleet and team," Holtz said. "As we looked for a strong partner, Airshare's commitment to aircraft management and overall customer experience stood out."
"One aspect that sets us apart from other private aviation companies is the access Airshare customers have to our complementary services," said Owen. "If interested, aircraft management customers can generate revenue by chartering their aircraft to our established base of fractional and charter customers. We also have many aircraft owners who own fractional shares or EMBARK jet cards to provide them with supplemental lift. We're excited for every aircraft owner to experience everything Airshare has to offer."
Wheels Up has been looking to focus its operations of late, as it faces financial pressures. The two companies have not said how many aircraft will be part of this management transfer, but when it last talked about the managed fleet, Wheels Up had about 150 aircraft under management. Adding these to the Airshare managed fleet will significantly transform the company.