Wheels Up Experience (NYSE: UP), a leading provider of on-demand private aviation, has successfully closed a significant investment from Delta Air Lines, Certares Management LLC, Knighthead Capital Management LLC, and Cox Enterprises.
This strategic collaboration combines Delta’s premium airline experience, Certares’ focus on travel and tourism, and Knighthead’s expertise in turnaround and restructuring.
Strategic Investment and Credit Facility
The investment includes a $500 million credit facility to Wheels Up, contributed by Delta and CK Wheels LLC, co-managed by affiliates of Certares and Knighthead, and Cox. This investment is a testament to the confidence of the investors in Wheels Up’s forward path in the premium travel space and represents a crucial source of capital to support Wheels Up’s financial stability, future profitability, and long-term growth.
George Mattson, the newly appointed CEO of Wheels Up, emphasized the importance of this investment in enhancing the company’s strategy and delivering best-in-class operating performance and exceptional customer experience. He stated, “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.”
Enhanced Partnership and Customer Benefits
Dan Janki, Wheels Up Chairman and Delta’s Chief Financial Officer, highlighted the deep relationship between Wheels Up and Delta, offering unique benefits in the travel space and putting Wheels Up on a strong path to future success. “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 Janki.
Board Restructuring and Equity Distribution
Concurrent 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. Post-approval by Wheels Up’s stockholders, the lenders will own 95% of the company’s outstanding equity.
Wheels Up also announced a restructuring of its Board of Directors. Delta Air Lines will appoint four directors, Certares and Knighthead will each appoint two directors, and Cox will appoint one director.
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.