Wheels Up agrees deal for Portside to acquire licensing rights for Avianis


Wheels Up has agreed a licence with Portside for the technology and software solutions provider to market, service and develop the Avianis fleet management system.

Portside will continue to serve Avianis’s existing customers, market to prospective customers and develop new features for the platform.

Key members of the Avianis product and support teams will join Portside to serve customer needs and develop further opportunities. Wheels Up will retain the intellectual property associated with Avianis and will continue to maintain and develop its own internal instance of the platform as the FMS for its first-party fleet. 

Alek Vernitsky, CEO and co-founder of Portside told Corporate Jet Investor: “As we continue to build a turn-key and scalable operating system for business aviation, Avianis brings important functionality, a best-in-class user experience and an outstanding support team to our overall value proposition and we see enormous potential to continue to develop and enhance the platform.”

The licensing agreement will benefit both parties, he added. “Licensing the Avianis software will enable us to support existing Portside customers better with sophisticated scheduling and operations products developed by Avianis.  We will also be able to service Avianis customers better by enabling a deeper integration between Portside products and Avianis.”

For Wheels Up, the agreement provides the continued use of an industry-leading FMS for the company’s fleet and enables the company to focus time and resources on things that are core for the overall success of the business, he said.

Dave Godsman, chief digital officer, Wheels Up said the agreement is evidence of the great product the Avianis team has built as part of the Wheels Up group and the continued value it adds for operators worldwide. “Avianis has become an integral part of Wheels Up’s platform and we are pleased it will continue to serve as a core piece of our operations,” he said. 

While the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, it is understood to be a long-term licensing agreement, with Portside continuing to support all Avianis customers and develop and commercialise the software. As part of the integration, all Portside services will become available to Avianis customers, including the owner portal, staffing, Portside services, optimisation and billing.

Our primary measure of success is customer satisfaction,” Vernitsky told us. “Are customers happy with the product, service and available integrations?  Is the software helping our customers become more productive and efficient?  Is it helping customers serve their customers better and offer a better service to them?”

Meanwhile, Kenny Dichter, founder and former CEO of Wheels Up, revealed the acquisition of the technology and flight management systems company Avianis at Revolution.Aero, Corporate Jet Investor’s aviation technology conference, in San Francisco in September 2019. Speaking at the time Dichter said: “We have been looking at lots of tech companies to help accelerate the development of our digital platform. Booking a private jet should be as easy as booking a car with Uber or booking a home with Airbnb.”

Headquartered in San Francisco, Portside is developing a cloud-based operating system for business and government aviation. The Portside platform supports more than 800 operators of business jets, helicopters, industrial and government fleets, as well as fractional jet ownership programmes in over 30 countries.