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Wed, Jan 17, 2024

Wheels Up Divests of Brokerage Arm

Up and Coming Fractional Sharpens Focus on Operations

Wheels Up Experience continues to roll up its tents in the private jet circus, divesting itself of its sales unit.

The firm had already sold off its aircraft management arm to Airshare, as well as licensed off its 'Avianis' technology to Portside. It's a very high-profile, slow motion corporate dismemberment for the once-promising jet operator and aircraft broker.

At one time, Wheels Up Experience, Inc was the promising new kid on the block, becoming the 3rd largest fractional operator in the USA behind NetJets and Flexjet in 2022. The firm's acquisition of TMC Jets, Avianis, Delta Private Jets, Mountain Aviation, Alanate Air Charter, and Gama Aviation Signature all helped reinforce its fleet of private jets and turboprops. Like any good fractional, it made some hay in the exciting gold rush of pandemic-era travel, offering cardholders their choice of private aviation services. After acquiring Delta Private Jets, Wheels Up found itself with a new majority stakeholder, Delta Air Lines. Even after the IPO, the carrier has remained the biggest voice in the room...and it hasn't been too impressed. Since 2022, Wheels Up has revamped and retooled its membership programs, announced additional partnerships with a range of entertainment and shopping companies, and overhauled its executives in equal measure. The cutting continues in the hopes of regaining profitability in a post-COVID economy.

The firm has continued to excise the less-profitable portions of its business, trying to hone in on its fractional operations. Its most recent organ on the chopping block was the brokerage arm, which it handed off to a newly formed company called 5x5 Trading. That company comes from the execs running the Wheels Up brokerage arm in the past, who will spin off and provide their services to Wheels Up and other clientele.

FMI: www.wheelsup.com

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