Kenny Dichter, Founder and CEO of Wheels Up, the revolutionary membership-based private aviation company, today announced an expanded relationship with Textron Aviation Inc., a subsidiary of Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) and home to both Cessna Aircraft Company and Beechcraft Corporation. Working with Cessna, Wheels Up will add a mix of 10 factory custom refurbished Cessna Citation Excel and XLS jets to the Wheels Up program. With the addition of these aircraft, Wheels Up now offers members access to a closed-fleet of midsize Cessna Citation jets to complement the existing closed-fleet of Beechcraft King Air 350i aircraft.
The first several Citation jets will be based on the East Coast, with the first aircraft to be displayed at an exclusive preview event at Westchester County Airport on Wednesday, June 4. Aircraft delivery will expand to multiple regions throughout 2014.
“Since our August 2013 launch, we have seen rapid growth and broad-based demand for our King Air 350i offering. The addition of the Citation Excels and XLS’s will allow Wheels Up to meet the needs of our membership for longer range lift as we build out our total aviation solution,” said Dichter. “We will also be exploring the acquisition of additional Cessna products, including the Citation CJ4 and Citation Sovereign, as they are both highly competitive aircraft. By year end, we’ll have a fleet comprised of 27 King Air 350i’s and 10 Citation Excel and XLS’s, plus five VistaJet Global 5000’s.”
Each aircraft will have the Wheels Up distinctive sleek blue and white livery, “UP” on the aircraft tail, and customized interiors, including Wi-Fi connectivity. The Cessna Citation Excel and XLS jets offer a high level of comfort and amenities including ample room for up to nine passengers, a range of 2,070 nautical miles and one of the largest cabins and baggage compartments in its class. The Textron Aviation service network will provide comprehensive maintenance on the newly added aircraft through various Cessna ProAdvantage programs including PowerAdvantage+ for the engines.
“Through the Wheels Up membership model, the private aviation community now has access to products within two of the strongest product families in the world – Citation business jets and King Air turboprops,” said Scott Ernest, President and CEO of Textron Aviation. “We are confident customers will be well served by the performance and comfort of the Citation Excel and Citation XLS, paired with the travel solutions offered by Wheels Up.”
Source: Wheels Up
Date: Jun 3, 2014