Gama Aviation’s US subsidiary Gama Charters Inc. is marking a successful 12 months as the operating partner of Wheels Up, a membership-based US private aviation company. Since flights commenced at the end of October 2013, Gama Charters Inc. has recruited a total of 156 pilots, flying a total of 37 aircraft including 23 Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprops and eight Cessna Citation Excels. Four more King Air 350i’s, are due to arrive by the end of this year, with eight more of the type joining the Wheels Up fleet by June 2015, as well as two more Excels by the end of 2014.
Wheels Up launched in August 2013 as a revolutionary membership-based program which greatly reduced the upfront investment needed to fly privately. The company launched the program by announcing a deal for 105 King Air 350i’s from Beechcraft, the largest turboprop order in business aviation history. Currently, Wheels Up has over 750+ members and anticipates finishing the year with over 1,000 members.
Tom Connelly, President of Gama Charters Inc. said,
“We have been very fortunate to recruit highly experienced, customer service focused, business aviation pilots, along with a best-in-class operations team to back them up. They have slotted right in to the Gama Aviation culture and the busy flying schedule that is Wheels Up – now supporting 40+ flights daily, flying Wheels Up members coast-to-coast.”
New line maintenance base at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
In parallel with the explosive growth that Gama Charters is experiencing across the board, Gama Support Services Inc, its affiliate, has also continued its planned growth with line maintenance facilities in Las Vegas, West Palm Beach, and Van Nuys, and by the end of the year will add its sixth maintenance base – Dallas, to support the growth of Wheels Up.
“I’m proud to say we now have a 100-strong maintenance workforce, operating coast-to-coast to provide services to our managed customers and fleet operations.”
“This relationship continues to go from strength-to-strength. It really is as good as it can get. Wheels Up focuses on sales, marketing and membership and Gama ensures the aircraft are ready to fly, pilots trained and we are operationally ready to go under the safest parameters in the industry.”
Kenny Dichter, Founder and CEO of Wheels Up, added,
“Working with Gama Aviation over the last 14-18 months has been a joy. They have delivered at every point, supporting the promises we make to our members by providing excellent service. We selected Gama Aviation as the exclusive operator of the King Air 350i and Cessna Citation Excel/XLS fleet based on their focus on safety, like-minded entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to members and with the success of the relationship and the program Wheels Up continues to grow daily.”
Both companies will be present at NBAA, the industry’s premier business aviation gathering in Orlando this week (21-23 October). Gama Aviation will be present at stand 2625.
About Gama Aviation
Gama Aviation is a global business aviation services organization, founded in 1983 in the United Kingdom by Marwan Khalek and Stephen Wright. Gama Aviation currently employs over 600 people and operates over 100 business aircraft around the globe at 25 operating bases across four continents.
Gama Aviation’s global headquarters are located at Farnborough Airport in the UK, with its American subsidiary, Gama Charters Inc.’s headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut, its Middle East and North Africa headquarters in Sharjah and its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong. Its companies and affiliates hold EU-OPS, FAA and UAE GCAA Charter Certificates, EASA, FAA and GCAA Part 145 Maintenance Approvals, EASA Part 21 Design and Manufacture Approvals and collectively offer business aircraft management, charter, maintenance and design, travel, valeting, FBO Executive Handling and aviation software services.
The group remains majority owned by its founders; in 2007 the group received an equity investment from Growth Gate Capital Corporation, Crescent Enterprises and a small number of other strategic partners.
About Wheels Up
Wheels Up is a revolutionary membership-based private aviation company that greatly reduces the upfront cost to fly private while providing unmatched accessibility, flexibility, and the finest personalized service. Created and led by Kenny Dichter, the Founder of Marquis Jet and original innovator of the 25-hour fractional jet card, Wheels Up offers a total aviation solution for individuals and corporations, including exclusive access to its private fleet of brand new King Air 350i and Citation Excel/XLS aircraft. With its 8760 culture (24 hours x 7 days x 365 days of the year), Wheels Up has become known for its around the clock customer support, serving its members in the air and on the ground. Wheels Up membership includes Wheels Down, the ultimate lifestyle, concierge, events and partner benefits program, engaging members through exclusive events and opportunities to meet luminaries from the worlds of entertainment, sports, politics and business. The Company is in development of a proprietary, cutting-edge booking and rideshare application for its members.
Wheels Up acts as agent for the Wheels Up members, and is not the operator of the program aircraft; FAA licensed and DOT registered air carriers participating in the program exercise full operational control of the program aircraft. Any aircraft owned or leased by Wheels Up are dry leased to the operating air carrier to facilitate operations by that carrier. For additional information, please visit www.WheelsUp.com.