Wheels Up to go public in 2.1 billion deal

Wheels Up Partners Holdings LLC has entered into a definitive agreement to become publicly-traded via a merger with special purpose acquisition company, Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp. in a transaction that values Wheels Up at an enterprise value of $2.1 billion. Aspirational was formed and is led by a partnership of consumer investors, including Chairman and CEO Ravi Thakran, private equity veteran and former Group Chairman of LVMH Asia. Additionally, L Catterton, the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm, is a minority shareholder. Upon closing of the transaction, Wheels Up will be the first private aviation platform to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Wheels Up sells aircraft charters through membership programmes. Other services include aircraft management and sales. It has completed several acquisitions in recent years, including that of Colorado-based private aviation company Mountain Aviation and of business aircraft operator Gama Aviation Signature. In 2020, Delta Air Lines took a 27% stake in Wheels up. In 2020, Wheels Up had flown more than 150,000 passengers, utilizing its access to over 1,500 owned, managed, and third-party partner aircraft.

Rolls-Royce runs 100% SAF on Pearl 700 bizjet engine

Rolls-Royce has conducted the first tests of 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in a business jet engine. The demonstration, conducted at the manufacturer’s facility in Dahlewitz, Germany, comes on the heels of a similar test using a Trent 1000 engine in Derby, UK. This test has demonstrated that the current Rolls-Royce engines for large civil and business jet applications can operate with 100% SAF as a full “drop-in” option, laying the groundwork for moving this type of fuel towards certification. At present, SAF is only certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines.

The SAF that was used in the tests was produced by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG. This unblended fuel has the potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75% compared to conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions in future.

ASL Group launches fractional ownership model

On Sunday, January 17, ASL Group was proud to welcome the newest member of its fleet, a Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2. This single engine jet offers seating for up to 5 passengers and flies up to a maximum range of 1275 nautical miles / 2360 km, at a cruising speed of 305 KTAS / 565 kmph. The aircraft will be based in Antwerp, Belgium and will be operated by ASL Group, under its recently re-structured Blue Sky Club, launched in 2010 as an aircraft membership program. With the introduction of the Cirrus Vision Jet, ASL Group is now also introducing its new Fractional Ownership model and intends to further expand this new model with additional aircraft in the near future.

Vista Global companies record strong growth in 2020

During 2020, the Group’s VistaJet saw an increase of 29% globally in new subscription memberships year-on-year, with Europe accounting for 43% of new members, North America 25%, Asia 18% and the Middle East 10%. It was also a record year for VistaJet’s on demand services, with bookings growing substantially at +15% year-on-year. The company expects to see a continuation in this extraordinary explosion in demand from both corporate and first-time fliers.

XO, the Group’s leading on demand technology platform, recorded a surge in new client memberships of more than 3x in 2020, with each depositing an average of $100k deposit, guaranteeing future flying. The Company also recorded record flight hours in 2020, up 6% year-on-year. Following XO’s launch of a light jet fleet in November 2020, increasing its dedicated aircraft by 30%, the operator of the aircraft saw extraordinary growth, with the number of flights up 39% in December alone.

People: The Air Charter Association appoints Glenn Hogben as Chief Executive

Glenn Hogben, who stepped in as joint deputy chair of The Air Charter Association (ACA) late last year, is moving into the new role of CEO for the organization. Glenn has over 17 years of experience in aircraft charter, leasing and management. His career in aviation started when he joined ACC Aviation in 2004 and he was instrumental in helping the company grow and become one of the top 5 global aircraft brokerages.

He has worked on a wide variety of leasing and air charter projects all around the world. Initially becoming an ACMI leasing broker he then lead the diversification of ACC Aviation into the adhoc and corporate charter markets.

Prior to his aviation career, Glenn gained a BA Honours degree from the University of London in History and Geography and held roles in a major utilities provider and a retail company. He is a family man, with a love for the outdoors, spending some of his free time as a commissioned officer, putting the Army cadets through their paces.

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