AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

Wheels Up Officially Closes Acquisition of Air Partner plc

Wheels Up | April 04, 2022

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.

Spotlight

With commercial airspace becoming increasingly crowded, safety and efficiency upgrades mandated by international regulatory agencies are a fact of aviation life. As the Commission of the European Communities stated in 2009, “Observed and expected increases in air traffic levels within Europe require parallel increases in air traffic control capacity.”


Other News
BUSINESS AVIATION

Southern California's Ontario International Airport Authority authorizes major ground lease and development agreement for surplus property

McDonald Property Group | December 24, 2021

The Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) Commission voted unanimously today to authorize a Development and Entitlement Agreement that will lead to a ground lease for approximately 198 acres of surplus property at the Southern California airport. The 55-year lease will generate approximately $275 million over the first 10 years, which will support ongoing airport improvements while keeping costs down for airlines. The OIAA determined the property, located east of Haven Avenue, north of Jurupa Avenue, south of Airport Drive and west of Carnegie Avenue, is unsuited for typical airport use, making it surplus to the airport's aviation/aeronautical needs. (See accompanying ONT aerial photo showing surplus property to be leased.) "We are pleased and proud to move forward with the first of several major real estate transactions to monetize vacant property since the airport was transferred to local control in November 2016, As envisioned in the OIAA strategic business plan, the ongoing revenue stream will help ONT fund vital safety, security and infrastructure projects while keeping airport costs to airlines low. As a result, ONT will become even more attractive for airlines to inaugurate and increase flight schedules." -Alan D. Wapner, Mayor pro Tem of the City of Ontario and President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners. CanAm Ontario LLC, a venture formed by San Antonio, TX-based USAA Real Estate Company and McDonald Property Group of Newport Beach, CA, will develop the vacant property for industrial use in compliance with the Airport Compatibility Plan required under State Law. Steven Ames, Managing Director-Investments, USAA Real Estate Company, sounded a note of optimism following the Board's action. CanAm Ontario was selected following a competitive process which began with 17 bidders managed by CBRE Group, Inc., a global leader in real estate services and investment headquartered in Los Angeles. The deal calls for a non-refundable $10 million deposit to OIAA. After allowing time for CanAm Ontario to obtain local jurisdictional entitlement and environmental approvals, rental revenue to the OIAA will start at $25 million in the first year, increasing in five-year increments, resulting in revenue of $90.6 per year in the final five years. The net present value of the agreement is $625 million. "The air carriers at Ontario support efforts that keep operating costs low, which benefits anyone who uses the airport, This is an example of the Authority's continued efforts to provide funding for airport improvements while reducing airline costs". -Trey Hettinger, Chair of the ONT Airline Affairs Committee representing the Signatory passenger and cargo airlines operating at ONT. Airport officials noted that special consideration was given to ensure the transaction complies with applicable federal laws and Federal Aviation Administration policies and provide lease revenue exceeding fair market value as determined by three independent appraisals. Federal law requires that revenues generated by the airport be used for airport purposes. About Ontario International Airport Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the fastest growing airport in the United States, according to Global Traveler, a leading publication for frequent fliers. Located in the Inland Empire, ONT is approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California. It is a full-service airport which, before the coronavirus pandemic, offered nonstop commercial jet service to 26 major airports in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and Taiwan. About the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) The OIAA was formed in August 2012 by a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino to provide overall direction for the management, operations, development and marketing of ONT for the benefit of the Southern California economy and the residents of the airport's four-county catchment area. OIAA Commissioners are Ontario Mayor Pro Tem Alan D. Wapner (President), Retired Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge (Vice President), Ontario City Council Member Jim W. Bowman (Secretary), San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman (Commissioner) and retired business executive Julia Gouw (Commissioner).

Read More

AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

Air Serbia to grow revenue opportunities with retailing solutions from Sabre

Air Serbia | December 21, 2021

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) announced that Air Serbia successfully implemented Sabre's Dynamic Availability software, which will help the airline to actively respond to evolving conditions with optimized pricing information. Leveraging shopping data as well as information on traveler behavior and other key factors from Sabre's marketplace and other sources, Dynamic Availability applies machine-learning models to generate recommendations that help drive incremental revenue opportunities. The tool allows airlines to optimize their offerings by quickly and precisely responding to changing dynamics with recommendations based on real-time marketplace data. "Pricing is one of the most complex issues in the aviation industry – even more so since the onset of the pandemic, Successful pricing is an important aspect of sophisticated retailing, and airlines like Air Serbia need the right information to help maximize revenue. Beyond unlocking incremental revenue potential, our Dynamic Availably solution reduces the time spent on manual calculations, increases analyst efficiency and allows our customers to focus on delivering a superior traveler experience." -Dino Gelmetti, Vice President EMEA, Sabre Travel Solutions. To further enhance its offering agility and precision, Air Serbia is actively collaborating with Sabre to advance airline revenue management through this period of recovery. As part of this discussion, the airline is exploring opportunities to partner with Sabre on its recently launched Sabre Price IQ product. Considering traveler segment and trip intent from the shopping request combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning, Air Price IQ supports airlines in their efforts maximize revenue opportunities while providing a seamless experience to its travelers. "As we embark on a period of ambitious recovery and growth, building cutting-edge technology using real-time data, artificial intelligence and machine learning will be key to our success, We are excited to partner with Sabre on these intelligent software solutions that will redefine our fare pricing and passenger experience." -Jiri Marek, General Manager Commercial and Strategy at Air Serbia. Air Price IQ is part of Sabre's Retail Intelligence suite. Powered by Sabre Travel AI™ – an innovative capability that integrates Sabre technology with state-of-the-art AI technology and advanced machine-learning services – the new technology will allow airlines to dynamically provide offers to travelers based on preferences, marketplace insights and purchase probability, creating a more personalized and better traveler experience. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre's software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. About Air Serbia Air Serbia was launched under that name in October 2013 as the national airline of the Republic of Serbia. From three airports in Serbia (Belgrade, Niš, Kraljevo) it flies to destinations in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Africa, in passenger and cargo traffic. The airline also offers long-haul and international destinations in Asia, Australia, North America and Africa via its codeshare partners. Air Serbia's fleet includes one wide-body, 10 narrow-body and 5 turboprop aircraft. Find more information about the activities of the Serbian national airline at Air Serbia Media Centre.

Read More

BUSINESS AVIATION

AgEagle Announces Enhancements to Measure Ground Control, Designed to Support and Manage Autonomous Drone Operations of Any Scale

AgEagle Aerial Systems, Inc. | May 16, 2022

AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. an industry-leading provider of full-stack drone, sensor and software solutions for commercial and government/defense use, announced new and enhanced technological features and capabilities of Measure Ground Control, helping to drive greater value from autonomous drone operations for enterprise customers and professional drone service providers spanning a wide range of industries. Offered as Software-as-a-Service, Measure Ground Control continues to earn the trust and fidelity of its blue chip, industry-diverse customers by providing a single platform to automate flight management systems safely and securely; easily manage drone programs of any scope and scale; and process, analyze and share drone-captured image data and visualization necessary for assessing risks, improving workflow processes and achieving time and cost efficiencies across enterprises of virtually any size. With the aim of empowering AgEagle’s customers to readily extend their reach and human capability through adoption of scalable autonomous drone programs, Measure Ground Control users can While AgEagle’s origins are rooted in Agriculture, its ‘Ag’ distinction now more closely correlates to the Company’s ‘agnostic’ approach to serving the global autonomous robotics industry through delivery of solutions that help its customers achieve specific goals and objectives from their respective drone operations. “Ground Control was literally built from the ground-up, working closely with customers to intimately understand their unique needs, frustrations and challenges and to solve real human problems. As a result, our performance-driven software platform avails scalable, autonomous drone programs that are incredibly easy to deploy and manage and from which our customers’ can aggregate vast amounts of data and deep insight necessary to make important, well-informed decisions in their day-to-day business operations – be it an Energy, Infrastructure, Agriculture or other commercial enterprise,” Barrett Mooney, Chairman and CEO of AgEagle Continuing, Mooney said, “Ground Control can be readily and affordably integrated into existing processes and IT systems – and integrated with the latest advancements in drone hardware, sensors and tools – facts which we view are central to our software’s ultimate value proposition for current and future customers. Moreover, in addition to our working towards ensuring that Ground Control works seamlessly with AgEagle’s growing line of US government approved fixed wing drones and sensors, we also welcome opportunities to collaborate with other leading drone solutions companies on integration initiatives to help push the limits of autonomous flight in industries where commercial drone programs are having pronounced impact on business economics, workforce safety and workflow efficiencies.” Measure Ground Control is currently compatible with DJI’s Inspire, Mavic, Matrice, Phantom and Spark branded drones; as well as Parrot’s Anafi, Anafi Thermal and Anafi USA drones. Native U.S.-made apps, equipment and other tools supported by Ground Control include RedEdge-MX, Wing’s Open Sky, Pix4D, Scopito, AirMap, Azure and AWS storage servers. Ground Control also provides for a robust API that allows for the integration of many other in-house programs and third party solutions, including ESRI QGIS, Power BI, Salesforce, CHEQROOM and others. About AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. AgEagle and its wholly owned subsidiaries are actively engaged in designing and delivering best-in-class drones, sensors and software that solve important problems for our customers. Founded in 2010, AgEagle was originally formed to pioneer proprietary, professional-grade, fixed-winged drones and aerial imagery-based data collection and analytics solutions for the agriculture industry. Today, AgEagle is a leading provider of full stack drone solutions for customers worldwide in the energy, construction, agriculture and government verticals.

Read More

AEROSPACE

JetBlue Now Accepting Applications for Pilot Gateway Programs

JetBlue | March 08, 2022

JetBlue today announced it is once again accepting applications for its pilot Gateways. With seven distinct education and training paths for pilots and aircraft maintenance technicians, JetBlue’s industry-leading Gateways offer anyone with the talent and dream of flying a range of pathways into the industry, opening the door for more people to discover and define their own career path in aviation. As the airline with the longest-running pathway programs, JetBlue is proud to continue its legacy, producing hundreds of new-hire pilots for the airline with 12% of last year’s new-hire pilots coming through one of the JetBlue Gateways. “Whether you’ve never been in an aircraft flight deck or already have a few solo flights under your belt and are planning for your future as a commercial airline pilot, we know that there is no single route to a career in aviation, but we do believe there should be a path available for anyone with the aptitude and passion to pursue it. Our Gateways offer multiple paths for those who’ve dreamed but never had the opportunity to pursue these highly-skilled careers in aviation. Since 2008 our Gateway programs have been removing many barriers of entry that often ground talented individuals before their dreams can even take flight. We are proud of our ability to extend opportunities to broader audiences and can’t wait to welcome the next generation of aviation professionals to JetBlue.” Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue JetBlue continues its commitment to developing internal talent by offering current crewmembers both Direct and Flex options toward becoming a pilot or maintenance technician. JetBlue’s program flexibility allows every crewmember to tailor their own experience, further emphasizing the airline’s culture as crewmembers define and work towards career goals. Since the introduction of the first Gateway University program in 2008, the airline’s Gateways have continued to expand, offering opportunities for candidates to find the path and careers goals that are right for them. With a particular focus on internal development, JetBlue announced new Gateways in 2021 expressly for current JetBlue crewmembers interested in becoming Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs), and for immediate family members of JetBlue crewmembers interested in becoming pilots. By making these Gateways available to crewmembers and their families, JetBlue looks to not only encourage the next generation of aviation professionals, but reaffirm the airline’s culture of caring and commitment to crewmember development with increased opportunities for its diverse workforce. JetBlue onboards hundreds of pilots and maintenance technicians each year and remains an employer of choice for aspiring aviators. Its Gateway programs are just one recruiting pipeline for internal and external candidates. About JetBlue Airways JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Juan. JetBlue carries customers across the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America, and between New York and London. For more information, visit jetblue.com.

Read More

Spotlight

With commercial airspace becoming increasingly crowded, safety and efficiency upgrades mandated by international regulatory agencies are a fact of aviation life. As the Commission of the European Communities stated in 2009, “Observed and expected increases in air traffic levels within Europe require parallel increases in air traffic control capacity.”

Resources