Wheels Up Experience Inc., the leading brand in private aviation, today announced it has officially closed its acquisition of Air Partner plc, a U.K.-based global aviation services group with operations in 18 locations and four continents. Under the terms of the transaction, and following stockholder and regulatory approval, Wheels Up has acquired the entire issued share capital of Air Partner for 125 pence per share, equivalent to an enterprise value of approximately $109 million.
Founded in 1961, Air Partner is a global aviation services company providing private jet, group and freight charter and aviation safety & security solutions to industry, commerce, governments and private individuals, across civil and military organizations.
"We are thrilled to welcome the Air Partner team as Wheels Up officially goes global. Air Partner's rich 60-year history in private aviation and complementary services will be an excellent enhancement of our brand as we continue to expand our marketplace and deliver a world-class experience for our members and customers. Bringing these two teams together is a tremendous advantage as we work to reinvent the future of private travel."
Wheels Up Chairman and CEO Kenny Dichter
In addition to expanding Wheels Up's core private travel offering internationally, the acquisition also adds group charter, freight and safety & security services to the Wheels Up portfolio. The Air Partner leadership team – including CEO Mark Briffa – will continue in their roles going forward.
"The response to this acquisition from our stockholders to our employees to our partners has been overwhelmingly positive," Briffa said. "We expect to leverage Wheels Up's investments in brand, technology, operations and service as we continue our strong start to 2022."
Over time, the company expects to operate all of its core private aviation services under a unified, global Wheels Up brand, building on its established equity as a recognized and trusted private aviation provider. The Air Partner group's subsidiaries – Baines Simmons, Redline Assured Security, CHS Engineering Services and Kenyon International Emergency Services – will continue to operate their established brands under the broader Wheels Up umbrella.
Wheels Up expects the integration of Air Partner's historically profitable business to be accretive to contribution margin and adjusted EBITDA in the first year. Air Partner will maintain its Gatwick, U.K., headquarters.
About Wheels Up
Wheels Up is the leading provider of "on demand" private aviation in the United States and one of the largest private aviation companies in the world. Powered by a growing marketplace of more than 1,500 safety-vetted and verified aircraft, Wheels Up is the only company in the industry to offer a total private aviation solution that includes a relentless focus on safety and service, with flexibility across all types of aircraft, membership programs, corporate solutions, aircraft management, whole aircraft sales and commercial travel benefits through a strategic partnership with Delta Air Lines.
The Wheels Up App enables members and customers to search, book and fly. Wheels Up Connect, Core and Business memberships provide enhancements such as flight sharing, empty-leg Hot Flights, Shuttle Flights, Shared Flights, signature Wheels Down events and exclusive member benefits from preeminent lifestyle brands. Wheels Up's ongoing Wheels Up Cares program aligns with philanthropic organizations and initiatives that affect and matter to the company and its customers, members, stakeholders, families and friends. The Wheels Up Cares fleet comprises five custom-painted Beechcraft King Air 350i aircraft, with each plane serving as a flying symbol for a specific social cause.
About Air Partner:
Founded in 1961, Air Partner is a world-leading international aviation services group providing aircraft charter, aviation safety & security solutions and managed services to industry, commerce, governments and private individuals, across civil and military organizations. The Air Partner Group has two divisions: Air Partner Charter, comprising group charter, private jets, freight and specialist services; and Air Partner Services (previously Safety & Security), which comprises Baines Simmons, an aviation safety management and fatigue risk management consultancy, Redline Assured Security Ltd, a leading provider of global security solutions, Air Partner CHS, a leading international engineering company, Kenyon International Emergency Services, Inc., a world leader in emergency planning and incident response, and managed services. Air Partner has 18 locations across four continents, with its headquarters located alongside Gatwick airport in the UK. The group employs around 450 professionals globally and operates 24/7. It is ISO 9001:2015 compliant for commercial airline and private jet solutions worldwide.