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
Businesswire | August 08, 2023
D-Wave Quantum Inc. a leader in quantum computing systems, software, and services, and Davidson Technologies, Inc., a technology services company that provides innovative engineering, technical and management solutions for the Department of Defense, aerospace and commercial customers, today announced progress in their collaboration to create solutions that advance national defense efforts. In support of the companies’ joint presence at this week’s Space and Missile Defense Symposium, D-Wave and Davidson Technologies revealed that together they have built two applications, focused on interceptor assignment and optimized radar scheduling Designed to mitigate potential attacks, the interceptor assignment application is able to take into account a multitude of complex variables, including missile capability in negating threats, balanced allocation of missiles to threats, and availability of resources to help quickly identify the potential defense threats and identify key mitigation tactics. The radar scheduling application efficiently manages the time-limited resources of a phased-array radar system, enabling scheduling of communication with moving objects.
Together, D-Wave and Davidson are working to advance intelligent technology solutions for the defense and aerospace industries, creating applications that could support a variety of mission objectives, including supply chain optimization, logistics management, weapon system optimization, and vehicle routing. D-Wave’s solutions are available now through the company’s Leap™ quantum cloud service and work synergistically with other technologies like high-performance computing and AI/ML.
“During times of military response, speed matters, and our artificial intelligence, powered by D-Wave’s technology, provided an answer much faster than other computational options,” said Major General John W. Holly (USA, Ret.), president, CEO and chairman of Davidson. “Our mission is to deliver advanced, agile technology solutions in defense of our Nation, and together with D-Wave, we’re providing our government customers with critical applications in service to our country.”
“By utilizing emerging and advanced technologies, Davidson is able to provide its customers with unique military implementation and national defense tools,” said Dr. Alan Baratz, CEO of D-Wave. “We share that spirit of imagining the unimaginable and harnessing the power of technology to keep America safer. We are excited to see advancement in our collaboration and look forward to more robust application development over our multi-year relationship.”
D-Wave and Davidson have been collaborating since August 2022, when the companies entered into a multi-year reseller agreement to allow Davidson to resell D-Wave’s products and services, including the Leap quantum cloud service.
About Davidson Technologies, Inc.
For more than 25 years, Davidson has distinguished itself in the aerospace and missile defense industry with an outstanding reputation for performance excellence. Specifically, the company is recognized for innovation and subject matter expertise dedicated to the mission and the warfighter by designing and delivering advanced, intelligent technology solutions in defense of our Nation.
About D-Wave Quantum Inc.
D-Wave is a leader in the development and delivery of quantum computing systems, software, and services, and is the world’s first commercial supplier of quantum computers—and the only company building both annealing quantum computers and gate-model quantum computers. Our mission is to unlock the power of quantum computing today to benefit business and society. We do this by delivering customer value with practical quantum applications for problems as diverse as logistics, artificial intelligence, materials sciences, drug discovery, scheduling, cybersecurity, fault detection, and financial modeling. D-Wave’s technology is being used by some of the world’s most advanced organizations, including Volkswagen, Mastercard, Deloitte, Davidson Technologies, ArcelorMittal, Siemens Healthineers, Unisys, NEC Corporation, Pattison Food Group Ltd., DENSO, Lockheed Martin, Forschungszentrum Jülich, University of Southern California, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
PRnewswire | August 21, 2023
SpeQtral, a leading quantum communication technology company, is thrilled to unveil the collaboration with Kongsberg NanoAvionics (NanoAvionics) and Mbryonics for the upcoming SpeQtral-1 mission. NanoAvionics has been chosen as the satellite platform provider, while Mbryonics will take on the crucial role of the satellite optical terminal provider.
NanoAvionics, a prominent player in the new-space industry, has been chosen as CubeSat satellite platform provider for the mission. With their consistent track record of building and successfully launching satellite missions, NanoAvionics brings invaluable expertise and an impressive portfolio of accomplishments.
Mbryonics has been selected to develop the optical terminal that transmits the QKD photons from the SpeQtral quantum hardware to optical ground stations. Mbryonics demonstrates remarkable potential with their ever growing capabilities in space photonics. Their past contract win from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) showcases their abilities and commitment to pushing boundaries.
The SpeQtral-1 mission will be SpeQtral's second quantum key distribution (QKD) satellite. The mission follows the SpeQtre technology demonstrator mission, itself built on technologies demonstrated on the 2019 SpooQy-1 CubeSat. Leveraging the technical expertise of NanoAvionics and Mbryonics' state-of-the-art optical terminal hardware, SpeQtral-1 will serve as a pathfinder commercial demonstrator, defining future QKD services. It is also slated to be used alongside SpeQtre as the space segment for the ESA INT-UQKD programme, which will explore international use cases for QKD. This endeavour showcases the ability of industry leaders to join forces across continents, transcending geographical boundaries, and fostering an environment of global cooperation.
Rob Bedington, CTO of SpeQtral, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnerships: "We are thrilled that NanoAvionics and Mbryonics have taken up the challenge of collaborating on this groundbreaking, state-of-the-art mission. Making a laser comms mission is no easy feat, and integrating QKD takes the challenge to a whole new level! Our partners' expertise and capabilities tesselate perfectly with our own and our vision of Quantum-safe keys delivered by CubeSats; we look forward to building the future of global secure connectivity together."
Co-Founder and CEO, Lum Chune Yang, conveyed his anticipation for the SpeQtral-1 mission: "The SpeQtral-1 mission offers promising business prospects, enabling SpeQtral-delivered QKD services and serving as a reference for future QKD satellite products. The Quantum-Optical Terminal, a joint effort of SpeQtral and Mbryonics, presents a compact QKD and laser communications transmitter product ready for integration into satellites of all sizes. This will pave the way for organisations or sovereign nations with quantum security requirements to incorporate this cutting edge product into their bespoke satellite missions."
The mission has made steady progress with key milestones already achieved. The Optical Terminal & Quantum Payload Preliminary Design Reviews (PDR) were completed in 2022. SpeQtral-1's payload and mission CDR were also completed earlier this year. The team is moving ahead with EM tests and integration to conduct spacecraft level functional tests.
"We at NanoAvionics are proud to be part of the SpeQtral-1 mission alongside SpeQtral and Mbryonics," said Vytenis J. Buzas, CEO of NanoAvionics. "This collaboration signifies a critical step into the quantum era, promising revolutionary enhancements to secure communications. Leveraging our experience in swiftly delivering in-orbit demonstration missions with our modular smallsat platforms, we're prepared to navigate the future of quantum communications. Our partnership transcends borders, echoing the power of global cooperation in pioneering technological advancements."
"We are deeply honoured that SpeQtral has chosen Mbryonics as their optical communications technology partner for this groundbreaking SpeQtral-1 mission," said John Mackey, CEO at Mbryonics. "This project represents a significant step towards building a more secure world, and we are excited to contribute our expertise and advanced solutions to make it a reality. With a shared vision of pushing the boundaries of quantum communication, Mbryonics, NanoAvionics and SpeQtral have embarked on a remarkable journey to revolutionize secure communication channels through quantum key distribution (QKD). SpeQtral's trust in our expertise and technology is a testament to the relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence that drives both our organizations. Our team of dedicated engineers and experts have poured their passion and knowledge into developing a cutting-edge solution that promises to set new benchmarks in secure and unbreakable communication."
SpeQtral remains committed to driving advancements in the quantum communication industry through strategic collaborations. By leveraging the expertise and strengths of their partners, SpeQtral continues to pioneer the development of secure and scalable quantum solutions that will shape the future of secure communication.
SpeQtral is a pioneer in quantum communications, with a vision to build and deploy global quantum networks. SpeQtral develops quantum-secure products and services designed to protect sovereign and enterprise telecommunication networks against classical, as well as future quantum based cyber-attacks. Combining both terrestrial and space-based solutions, SpeQtral aims to secure the world's networks against the threats posed by the imminent quantum revolution and drive innovation in quantum communications that will serve as the building blocks for the future quantum internet.