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Wheels Up announces agreement to acquire Air Partner

Wheels Up Experience Inc. announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Air Partner PLC, a U.K.-based global aviation services group with operations in 18 locations and across four continents. Under the terms of the transaction, Wheels Up will acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Air Partner for 125 pence per share, equivalent to an enterprise value of approximately $107 million. The acquisition is expected to close later in the first quarter subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Founded in 1961, Air Partner is a global aviation services company providing private jet, group and freight charter and aviation safety & security solutions to industry, commerce, governments and private individuals, across civil and military organizations. Air Partner will provide Wheels Up the ability to expand its service offerings internationally, and Wheels Up expects Air Partner to leverage Wheels Up's investments in operations, service and technology on a global basis with an active and engaged customer base.

Only days after Wheels Up announced plans to acquire Air Partner, the New York-based company said it is purchasing Arizona-based Part 135 operator, Alante Air Charter. Alante operates 12 Citation CJ3/3+ and CJ4. Those aircraft will now be part of Wheels Up, as will its 39 pilots.


EBAA cancels AIROPS22, announces new dates for 2023

The European Business Aviation Association EBAA has officially canceled its AIROPS22 conference, which had already been postponed once due to persistent Covid concerns. The annual event, which was originally scheduled for February 8 and 9 in Brussels, was first rescheduled in December to take place on April 7 and 8 due to the surging Omicron variant wave. EBAA last week announced the dates for AIROPS23, planned for 14-15 February 2023. According to EBAA, several exhibitors and sponsors have already committed their support and participation for AIROPS23. EBAA is looking forward to bringing the AIR OPS community together and invites everyone to save the date for AIROPS23: 13-14-15 February 2023.


Frontier Airlines to merge with low-cost rival Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines, Inc. and Frontier Group Holdings, Inc., parent company of Frontier Airlines, Inc., this week announced a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will combine, creating what they call America’s most competitive ultra-low fare airline. Combined, Frontier-Spirit would leapfrog Alaska and JetBlue, becoming the fifth largest US carrier.

Together, Frontier and Spirit expect to bring more ultra-low fares to more travellers in more destinations across the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. The stronger financial profile of the combined company will empower it to accelerate investment in innovation and growth and compete even more aggressively, especially against the dominant “Big Four” airlines, among others. The deal, valued at $6.6 billion, is structured with Frontier Airlines controlling 51.5 percent of the merged airline while Spirit will hold the remaining 48.5 percent. Still to be determined is the name of the combined carrier and who will be CEO. The chair of the new airline will be Bill Franke, who is the current chair of Frontier and managing partner of its parent company Indigo Partners. Spirit and Frontier have a combined fleet of more than 280 Airbus A320 family planes. The two carriers combined have 354 new aircraft on order as of Dec. 31, according to Airbus. The airlines are scheduled to take delivery of the new aircraft through 2026.


People: ACC Aviation appoints James Stamp as new Non-Executive Director

Victor CEOs Toby Edwards (left) and James Farley (right)

ACC Aviation, the global aviation services group, has appointed James Stamp as a Non-Executive Director, effective 1 February. James is currently Group Commercial Director of National Express PLC, driving mergers and acquisitions activity, strategy development and new business. He also sits on the Board of National Express Middle East and WeDriveU, its North American employee shuttle operations.

Prior to joining National Express in 2017, James was a Partner at KPMG LLP, where he advised leading transport companies in his roles as UK Head of Transport and Global Head of Aviation. Here he was instrumental in helping the practice grow its market share to 40%-plus, working as lead relationship partner for various established legacy and low-cost airlines.

Founded in 2002 as an aircraft leasing specialist, today ACC Aviation delivers various solutions across aviation consultancy services, ACMI leasing, and air charter. Through an international office network spanning Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America, and Asia, it provides aviation solutions to clients across the globe.

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