Earlier this year, Wheels Up announced plans to scale and evolve its product offerings to deliver world-class private aviation service profitably. Funding provided by Delta, certain affiliates of Certares and Knighthead, and other partners is expected to provide the company the stability to execute on its strategic vision over the long term.
The partnership would combine the experience of Delta, the No. 1 premium airline and a longstanding partner, with the travel and tourism focus of Certares and turnaround and restructuring experience of Knighthead to boost Wheels Up as it evolves and elevates its customer experience, reliability and financial performance. It includes a non-binding agreement in principle for a US$500 million facility, which includes funds contributed by Delta and CK Opportunities Fund I, LP, (CK Opportunities) which is co-managed by affiliates of Certares and Knighthead. The facility would be comprised of a US$400 million term loan and a US$100 million liquidity facility from Delta, totalling US$500 million to Wheels Up.
“The partnership will create new opportunities for Wheels Up to drive strategic, operational and financial improvements for its customers in the months and years ahead,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “Delta’s unmatched expertise in premium travel, customer loyalty, corporate sales, operational reliability and aircraft maintenance, combined with Certares’ and Knighthead’s experience and global reach, are expected to speed Wheels Up on its path to profitability.
Delta CFO Dan Janki will become chairman of the Wheels Up board. (£1.00 = US$1.27 at time of publication).