Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL) announced on Thursday that it has partnered Wheels Up to establish the world’s largest owned and managed fleets of private aircraft.
The two parties reached an agreement for Delta Private Jets to combine with Wheels Up. The transaction will pair with Wheels Up’s membership programs, digital platform and its lifestyle experiences with Delta Private Jets.
Upon the closing of the transaction, Wheels Up will have a fleet of more than 190 private aircraft and over 8,000 members and customers. Delta will also hold an equity position in Wheels Up.
The transaction will provide an array of new products and features for existing and prospective customers of Wheels Up, Delta Private Jets, and Delta to make private aviation travel more accessible to all.
“This groundbreaking partnership will democratize private aviation – making the convenience of private jet travel accessible to more consumers,” said Delta Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian.
“Wheels Up’s lifestyle experiences and innovative digital platform, combined with the scale and service of Delta Private Jets, helps further Delta’s mission of connecting people and communities worldwide through travel. This agreement is the latest step in Delta’s ongoing effort to build partnerships that extend Delta’s brand beyond its core business,” concluded Bastian.
Wheels Up Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kenny Dichter will continue in his role leading the Wheels Up senior management team as it builds it partnership with Delta. Additionally, Wheels Up is committed to providing ongoing career opportunities for Delta Private Jets employees.
The transaction is expected to close early next year, and in the interim, Delta Private Jets and Wheels Up will continue to serve and communicate with their existing employees, customers, members, partners, and vendors in the same manner in which they do today.
“Bringing together our complementary businesses, which represent the best consumer brands in private and commercial aviation, is transformative and a first for the industry,” said Dichter. “The combination of Wheels Up and Delta Private Jets, along with the partnership commitments between Delta and Wheels Up, aligns with our growth objectives and vision of building a platform that will make private flying and the private flying lifestyle accessible to significantly more individuals and businesses in the U.S. and around the world.”