Wheels Up reveals record Q1 revenue and reduced net loss


Wheels Up has posted 68% revenue growth to reach $261.7m and a $12.3m reduction in net loss in first quarter (Q1) results, ahead of its listing on the New York Stock Exchange in mid 2021.

Active members grew by 56% to reach 9,896 year-on-year (yoy) in Q1, which ended March 31st, 2021. EBITDA (adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation) rose by $8.4m to deliver a loss of $8.7m, down from $17.1m in the same period of last year. Overall, the company’s net loss improved by $12.3m to deliver a net loss of $32.2m in Q1 compared with a loss of $44.5m in the same period of last year.

Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up founder and CEO said: “We started this year strong, with record revenue driven by increased flying from our significant membership growth, and contributions from recent acquisitions. Our customers are flying longer distances and across all fleet categories. It is clear they continue to see the value in our trusted brand, reputation for exceptional service, expanded fleet offerings, and our Wheels Down experiences.”

‘We started this year strong’

He added: “As the leading provider of on-demand private aviation Wheels Up is best positioned to bring the marketplace platform to our industry.”

Wheels Up had grown more rapidly than expected due to “unprecedented demand”, according to Eric Jacobs, chief financial officer. “Our current flight volume underscores the opportunity ahead of us as we look to optimise the marketplace. We are committed to accelerating investments in operations and next-generation technology to help us efficiently manage demand in the future.”

Four key factors

The company identified four key factors that are helping to drive its improved performance. Those are: synergies gained from its Q1 acquisition of Mountain Air, the introduction of an initial marketplace app for non-members, the use of new tools to improve fleet scheduling and utilisation and the recruitment of Vinayak Hegde, former Amazon and Airbnb executive, to the role of chief marketplace officer. (See more details below).

The company is expected to complete its $2bn merger with SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp towards the end of the second quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, Wheels Up’s journey – from its 2013 launch with an order for up to 105 King Air 350i valued at 4788m to its forthcoming Wall Street listing – is traced in the latest issue of Corporate Jet Investor Quarterly (CJIQ). One large operator told CJIQ: “Wheels Up has undoubtedly built a great brand. Now we’ll see if it becomes a great business.”

Wheels Up Q1 results – at a glance

  • -Revenue up 68% year-over-year (yoy) to $261.7m
  • -Active members grew 56% yoy to 9,896
  • -Adjusted EBITDA up by $8.4m yoy to ($8.7m)
  • -Net loss improved by $12.3m yoy to ($32.2m).

Source: Wheels Up.

Wheels Up’s four initiatives to ‘drive overall performance’

  1. 1.Used synergies gained from the Q1 acquisition of Mountain Aviation to launch a new transcontinental product offering with zone pricing on a dedicated super-mid fleet
  2. 2.Introduced the initial digital marketplace app to non-members with dynamic pricing and real-time availability. This allows anyone looking for flights to immediately search, book, and fly Wheels Up
  3. 3.Deployed new tools and technology to improve fleet scheduling and utilisation. New reservation capabilities to enhance the customer experience and new reporting capabilities to augment customer care
  4. 4.Strengthened the executive leadership team with former Amazon and Airbnb Executive, Vinayak Hegde, who joined as chief marketplace officer.

Source: Wheels Up.

Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up founder and CEO said: “We started this year strong,

Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up founder & CEO: “We started this year strong.”