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.
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.
Defense and Space
PRnewswire | August 03, 2023
Eviation Aircraft, a manufacturer of all-electric aircraft, today announced that it has appointed TLG Aerospace, a Seattle-based aerospace engineering company, for the design of the production configuration of the Alice commuter plane. TLG Aerospace is a leading engineering firm in the aviation industry with expertise from product development to certification.
Leading The Aviation of Tomorrow
Recently named one of TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential Companies 2023", Eviation pioneered the nine-passenger Alice – the only flight-proven all-electric commuter aircraft of its size. Built from a clean-sheet design integrating magniX's industry-leading electric propulsion system, Alice produces zero carbon emissions and features lower operating costs per flight hour than light jets or high-end turboprops – thereby providing the opportunity to activate more routes, improving the convenience of air travel.
"Establishing the production configuration of the Alice aircraft is an important milestone in the program," said Gregory Davis, CEO of Eviation. "This allows us to complete the design of the production version of the aircraft, a significant step on Alice's path to certification. We are excited to work with the expert engineering team at TLG Aerospace to take Alice into this next stage of bringing zero carbon, cost-effective and convenient air travel to the market."
"TLG Aerospace is thrilled to be joining this significant chapter in the development of the Alice aircraft," said Steve Muenzberg, CEO of TLG Aerospace. "Alice is an innovative, beautifully designed plane and a vital solution to reduce the aviation industry's carbon emissions. At TLG Aerospace we are committed to supporting the aviation industry's transition to sustainability, and working with Eviation's Alice is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to this critical initiative."
About Eviation Aircraft
Based in Washington State, Eviation Aircraft Inc. develops and manufactures electric aircraft to delight operators and passengers with green, cost efficient and convenient regional transportation. Its electric propulsion units, high-energy-density batteries, mission-driven energy management, and innovative airframe are designed from the ground up for electric flight.
About TLG Aerospace
TLG Aerospace is an aerospace engineering company with the capability to support the entire aircraft design cycle from product development to certification. Our full-service, multidisciplinary team provides engineering services including: aerodynamic design and CFD analysis; performance, stability & control and handling qualities; aircraft loads, flutter, and vibration; structural design and analysis; ground and flight testing; FAA/EASA Certification.
PRnewswire | August 10, 2023
Airshare today announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent to purchase Wheels Up's aircraft management business. Once signed, the deal is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions.
"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."
Airshare, headquartered in Overland Park, KS, is one of the fastest growing companies in private aviation. Over the past 23 years, Airshare has offered a full suite of private aviation solutions, including their revolutionary days-based fractional ownership and EMBARK jet cards, aircraft management, charter services and third-party maintenance.
Airshare has significantly extended its geographic footprint due to customer demand, including recent expansion into Chicago and South Florida. 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.
"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."
Foulston Siefkin LLP is serving as legal counsel to Airshare. Jefferies, LLC is acting as the exclusive financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel to Wheels Up.
Airshare fits the way you fly. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., the company offers a holistic suite of private aviation solutions including fractional ownership, jet cards, aircraft management, charter services and third-party maintenance. Airshare operates a fleet of super-midsize and light jets within their fractional and EMBARK jet card programs to customers across the United States, including recent expansion into Florida. The company provides aircraft management and charter services nationwide, while also performing comprehensive maintenance services for third-party aircraft. Airshare has received IS-BAO Stage 3 and ARGUS Platinum designations, meeting the highest international standards for safe flight operations.