Wheels Up CEO Dichter Envisions a 1,000 King Air Fleet by 2030Posted by KingAirNation — Friday, August 11, 2017
Kenny Dichter, CEO of private aviation membership company Wheels Up, made some strong predictions earlier this month in an interview with Corporate Jet Investor when asked what Wheels Up in 2030 looked like:
“I think a 1,000 King Air program could support 75,000 members,” said Dichter, “The Addressable Market in North America and Western Europe will support more than 1,000 Wheels Up King Airs. With 78 aircraft and 4,000 members, we are only 8% there with the picture that we are painting.”
Launched in August of 2013, Wheels Up placed a $1.4 billion deal with Textron Aviation. It included the purchase of 105 King Air and maintenance support. So far, Wheels Up has taken delivery of 63 King Airs and plans to have 85 by the end of next year. Dichter’s statement makes it apparent he is already looking beyond that.
A few other interesting points from the interview:
- Wheels Up looks to close out the year with more than 4,000 active members. According to Dichter they are running more than “20% above plan for the first six months of 2017. That is 75% year-on-year growth for the first six months.”
- Wheels Up is looking to open the aviation market in much the same way Uber has opened the car sharing market.
- “There are 1.5 million people and businesses that can participate in the Wheels Up membership model. So just like Uber, Wheels Up is growing the private aviation market by five or six times.” said Dichter.
- The company has plans to continually update their app service. They see the flight department of the future to be on your smartphone.
- Dichter feels Wheels Up’s strong safety protocols sets it up to lead the digitation of business aviation and set them apart from everyone else.
It will be interesting to see how much of this vision comes to past. Regardless, it’s never a bad thing to see more King Air in the skies.