Wheels Up | September 26, 2023
Wheels Up Experience (NYSE: UP) today announced that it has closed the previously announced investment by Delta Air Lines, Certares Management LLC, Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Cox Enterprises.
The new investment structure combines the experience of Delta, the No. 1 premium airline, with the travel and tourism focus of Certares and turnaround and restructuring experience of Knighthead. It includes an agreement for a $500 million credit facility to Wheels Up, with funds contributed by Delta and CK Wheels LLC, which is co-managed by affiliates of Certares and Knighthead, and Cox. The announcement follows last week's selection of George Mattson as the company's new CEO.
"This investment represents both an important source of capital for Wheels Up to support our strategy for financial stability, future profitability and long-term growth on behalf of our members and customers, as well as a vote of confidence in our path forward from a group of investors with deep experience in the premium travel space," Mattson said. "We look forward to working closely with Delta and our other investors to deliver best-in-class operating performance and an exceptional customer experience which, as we deepen our commercial partnership, will also enable us to provide a one-of-a-kind seamless connection between private and premium commercial travel."
"Wheels Up is an integral part of Delta's portfolio of premium partners, and this deep relationship offers a significant opportunity to deliver compelling benefits to our customers that are unique in the travel space," said Dan Janki, Wheels Up Chairman and Delta's Chief Financial Officer. "This investment and new leadership puts Wheels Up on a strong path to future success."
The credit facility is comprised of a $350 million term loan funded at closing from Delta, CK Wheels LLC and Cox and a $100 million revolving credit facility from Delta. The terms of the credit agreement permit a new lender to provide a $50 million term loan after the closing date, as approved by Delta, Certares, Knighthead and Cox, and it is anticipated this additional funding will close in the near term.
In connection with the closing of the credit facility, the lenders will initially receive newly issued Wheels Up common stock representing 80% of the company's outstanding equity as of the closing of the credit facility, on a fully diluted basis. After approval by Wheels Up's stockholders of an amendment to its certificate of incorporation, the company will issue to the lenders additional new shares such that the lenders will own 95% of the company's outstanding equity as of the closing of the credit facility, on a fully diluted basis.
Wheels Up also announced a new structure for its Board of Directors. Under the new structure, Delta Air Lines will appoint four directors, Certares and Knighthead each will appoint two directors, and Cox will appoint one director. In addition, one company executive will join the Board and two independent directors are expected to remain from the previous Board.
The parties were assisted in the transaction by a number of strategic advisors, including: Davis Polk, Jefferies LLC, Kirkland & Ellis and PJT Partners.
About Wheels Up
Wheels Up is a leading provider of on-demand private aviation in the U.S. and one of the largest private aviation companies in the world. Wheels Up offers a complete global aviation solution with a large, modern, and diverse fleet, backed by an uncompromising commitment to safety and service. Customers can access membership programs, charter, aircraft management services and whole aircraft sales, as well as unique commercial travel benefits through a strategic partnership with Delta Air Lines. Wheels Up also offers freight, safety and security solutions and managed services to individuals, industry, government, and civil organizations.
Wheels Up is guided by the mission to connect private flyers to aircraft, and one another, through an open platform that seamlessly enables life's most important experiences. Powered by a global private aviation marketplace connecting its base of approximately 12,000 members and customers to a network of approximately 1,500 safety-vetted and verified private aircraft, Wheels Up is widening the aperture of private travel for millions of consumers globally. With the Wheels Up mobile app and website, members and customers have the digital convenience to search, book and fly.
ZeroAvia | September 21, 2023
ZeroAvia today announced that Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital and NEOM have co-led the company's latest financing round.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund have also participated in the investment.
This investment will enable ZeroAvia to accelerate progress towards certification of its first engine as well as delivering the company's mission of a hydrogen-electric engine in every aircraft.
In conjunction with the investment, Airbus and ZeroAvia have agreed to collaborate on certification approaches for hydrogen power systems. The companies also intend to work together on a number of critical technical areas, including liquid hydrogen fuel storage, flight and ground testing of fuel cell propulsion systems, and development of hydrogen refueling infrastructure and operations.
ZeroAvia is pursuing hydrogen-electric propulsion systems as the most environmentally friendly and economically attractive solution to aviation's growing climate change impact. The company's hydrogen-electric engines use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which is then used to power electric motors to turn the aircraft's propellers, with the only byproduct during flight being water.
Airbus is a global leader in fostering alternative propulsion using hydrogen. Fuel cell systems are an important part of its ZEROe aircraft concepts program, designed to deliver low-carbon emission airframes of various sizes. The industry major has recently ground tested a hydrogen engine concept at 1.2 MW power.
The investment will support ZeroAvia's continued growth and technology development, most notably progressing its first product – ZA600 - through to certification. ZeroAvia recently completed the first stage of flight testing of the prototype ZA600 and is moving to complete design work ahead of certification, targeting 2025 entry-in-service to support up to 20 seat aircraft.
The funding will also enable ZeroAvia to continue to progress its larger engine program - the ZA2000, a 2-5.4 MW modular powertrain designed to support larger commercial aircraft applications. The company is working on retrofitting a Dash 8 400 76-seat testbed demonstrator provided by Alaska Airlines, with a view to first flight testing with a full size engine in 2024. The investment will help ZeroAvia extend the leadership it has established across core in-house technologies for multi-MW class hydrogen-electric engines, including high temperature PEM (HTPEM) fuel cells, advanced electric motors and power electronics, and onboard liquid hydrogen fuel storage.
Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO, ZeroAvia, said: "Anybody following the development of hydrogen aviation - and its potential to transform the industry - will see this investment as a positive step. Airbus has led the way with its zero-emission vision and its commitment to extensive R&D programs. For ZeroAvia to now have investors such as Airbus coming on board is the strongest possible validation of the prospects for hydrogen-electric propulsion technology."
"ZeroAvia has already been successful in flight testing fuel cell propulsion, and hydrogen storage and distribution systems on board their Do-228 flight test platform which puts them in a strong position to take their technologies to the next phase of development," said Glenn Llewellyn, Airbus Vice President ZEROe aircraft. "In addition, ZeroAvia is supporting the development of a wider hydrogen ecosystem for aviation - technologies, decarbonised hydrogen supply and certification of hydrogen propulsion systems - which all complement well with our own ambition to bring a ZEROe hydrogen powered aircraft to service by 2035."
Andy Challis, Co-Head of Principal Investments, Barclays, said: "Replacing fossil fuels with green hydrogen has been identified as a key decarbonisation pathway for hard to abate sectors, such as aviation. Our Sustainable Impact Capital portfolio is one of many ways which Barclays is supporting green-tech companies to innovate and scale, recognising that doing so at speed is crucial for a timely transition to net zero. ZeroAvia has shown that with ambition, technological innovation and the right support from both the public and private sector, it is possible to scale and implement such hydrogen technologies at pace, as evidenced by the ZA600 moving ever closer to commercial flight. We're delighted to be making a follow-on investment and look forward to seeing ZeroAvia continuing to drive change in the aviation sector."
Majid Mufti, Managing Director NEOM Investment Fund, said: "At NEOM, we are committed to identifying and implementing sustainable solutions that pave the way for a greener future. Our focus on maximizing renewable energy sources and fostering innovation in alternative fuel systems aligns with ZeroAvia's pioneering efforts in hydrogen-electric propulsion technology. Developing a green hydrogen future is central to NEOM's mission, and participating in this venture with ZeroAvia was a natural choice for us. We look forward to working closely with the company and contributing significantly to reaching that future."
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation as the initially targeting a 300-mile range in 9–19 seat aircraft by the end of 2025, and up to 700-mile range in 40–80 seat aircraft by 2027. Based in the US and the UK, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its three prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, secured a number of key partnerships with major aircraft OEMs, secured pre-orders for nearly 2,000 engines from a number of the major global airlines, with future revenue potential over $10bn. ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government's Jet Zero Council.
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2022 it generated revenues of € 58.76 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world's leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.
About Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital
As part of the firm's broader commitments, Barclays will invest £500m of its own capital, led by the Principal Investments team, in fast-growing, innovative, environmentally-focused companies whose values are aligned with those of Barclays and which target the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement. Investments will be strategic to Barclays, its clients and the communities it serves, with clear scalable propositions that deliver both environmental benefits and economic returns.
NEOM is an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a New Future might look like. It is a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for this New Future. It will be a destination and a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for exceptional livability, creating thriving businesses and reinventing environmental conservation.
NEOM will include hyperconnected, cognitive cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations. As a hub for innovation, entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies will come to research, incubate and commercialize new technologies and enterprises in groundbreaking ways. Residents of NEOM will embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking and diversity.
businesswire | September 14, 2023
H2FLY, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Joby Aviation, today announced the successful completion of the world’s first piloted flight of a liquid hydrogen-powered electric aircraft.
H2FLY, acquired by Joby in 2021, continues to lead the industry on the development and testing of hydrogen aviation propulsion systems. The company completed a series of piloted flights with its HY4 demonstrator aircraft, including one that lasted more than three hours, fitted with a hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system and liquid hydrogen that powered it for the entire flight.
The flights demonstrate the viability of using cryogenically-stored liquid hydrogen instead of gaseous hydrogen, which enables significantly lower tank weights and volume, leading to longer range. The successful installation and demonstration of flight with liquid hydrogen is believed to increase the range of H2FLY’s HY4 demonstrator aircraft from 466 mi (750 km) to 932 mi (1500 km), marking a critical step towards the long-term decarbonization of mid- to long-range aviation.
“H2FLY are pioneers in their field, and we’re proud of them achieving this watershed moment in the use of liquid hydrogen to power aircraft,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “In the years to come, battery-electric and hydrogen-electric propulsion systems will enable us to build aircraft that are quieter and make mid- to long-range air travel possible with zero emissions. It’s critical we take action now and invest aggressively in these technologies for the health of our planet and future generations to come.”
The successful flights are the culmination of Project HEAVEN, a European-government-supported consortium assembled to demonstrate the feasibility of using liquid hydrogen in aircraft. The consortium is led by H2FLY and includes the partners Air Liquide, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, and Fundación Ayesa.
Following this test flight milestone, H2FLY will increasingly focus on its path to commercialization. In June, H2FLY announced the development of its new fuel cell systems, which will be capable of providing their full power range at altitudes high enough to enable commercial hydrogen-electric aircraft, demonstrating real-world commercial aircraft applications.
Joby Aviation, Inc. is a California-based transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing air taxi which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet, and convenient service in cities around the world.