Airshare buys Wheels Up’s management businesses
Airshare has completed the acquisition of Wheels Up’s aircraft management business. This means that it is adding up to 90 aircraft to its fleet. The acquisition was first announced on August 9.
As well as its fleet of 24 fractional aircraft, Airshare already managed 34 jets.
“The Wheels Up business is the perfect fit for us, it has a very similar structure to ours and we are keen to add great people to our team,” John Owen, CEO, Airshare told Corporate Jet Investor. “We will mesh together the two management teams and have already spoken to as many owners as possible about moving over.”
Airshare is funding the purchase with its own cashflow. Wheels Up was focused on Part 135 aircraft that were available for charter. But Owen says this is different at Airshare. “We are as happy to have [privately operated] Part 91 aircraft as we are P135.”
Owen says that although Airshare’s fractional owners often use Airshare managed aircraft for charter when they want larger aircraft, the fractional business rarely goes outside its own fleet.
Wheels Up built the fleet by acquiring Travel Management Company or TMC Jets in June 2019; Delta Private Jets in 2020; Gama Signature Aviation in 2020; Mountain Aviation in 2021; and Atlante Air Charter in 2022. The company had been trying to merge all of these operators on to one Air Operator’s Certificate.
Airshare is privately owned. It was founded in 2000 in Kansas. It started as a fractional operator and offers shares and jet cards on both Embraer Phenom 300 and Challenger 3500 aircraft. It launched aircraft management and charter in 2008.
“This acquisition also spreads our national Prescence allowing us to grow the business further,” says Owen. “But we are not going to grow to fast. We want to grow intelligently”
The sale was arranged by Jefferies working for Wheels Up. Foulston Siefkin was legal counsel to Airshare. Kirkland & Ellis represented Wheels Up.