Wheels Up Closes $109 million purchase of Air Partners

Acquisition of U.K.-based firm will allow private, member-based aircraft operator to expand internationally.

Wheels Up (NYSE: UP), a private, member-based aircraft operator, has closed on its acquisition of Air Partner, a U.K.-based firm, after initially announcing the deal in February

The all-cash deal, worth approximately $109 million, will allow Wheels Up to add 18 locations across four continents and group charter, freight, and safety and security services to the Wheels Up marketplace portfolio.

In a statement announcing the deal, Wheels Up Chairman and CEO Kenny Dichter celebrated Air Partner’s 60-year history and called the acquisition “an excellent enhancement of our brand.”

Air Partner was founded in 1961 and grew to become a global aviation services company providing private jet, group, and freight charter and aviation safety and security solutions to industry, commerce, governments, and private individuals across civil and military organizations.

“Bringing these two teams together is a tremendous advantage as we work to reinvent the future of private travel,” Dichter said.  

The deal will also allow Wheels Up to expand its offerings to international customers, which is positive after analysts questioned how big Wheels Up’s customer-based might be. 

As for synergy across the companies, all of the Air Partners leadership team, including CEO Mark Briffa, will continue in their roles. Eventually, Wheels Up will consolidate the Air Partners brands under its unified operations. Air Partners will keep its headquarters in Gatwick in the U.K. Meanwhile, the Air Partners subsidiary brands will maintain their operations under the Wheels Up umbrella.

In a statement, Briffa said his company’s stockholder’s reaction to the deal has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

Air Partner had a healthy business going into the deal. When the company reported its half-year results for the first half of 2021, the company said deposits for jet cards were 12.5 percent more than in the same period in 2019. In the U.S. market, deposits were up 229 percent due to strong demand for private, on-demand travel.

Meanwhile, in March, Wheels Up said in its fourth-quarter earnings report that its 2021’s fourth-quarter revenue rose 64 percent as its active membership grew to 12,543.


New to Flying?


Already have an account?