NBAA Convention News

JetSuite Adds 10 More CJ3s For New Wheels Up Partnership

 - October 23, 2013, 8:40 PM
Wheels Up and JetSuite have agreed a partnership that will give reciprocal benefits to their customers. Pictured left to right are Wheels Up president and co-founder David Baxt, JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox, JetSuite president and CFO Keith Rabin and Wheels Up CEO and founder Kenny Dichter.

JetSuite has exercised options for 10 more Cessna Citation CJ3s to provide additional capacity for its new partnership with private flight membership program Wheels Up. In a deal confirmed here at the NBAA show, JetSuite agreed to take the first of the 10 additional aircraft on November 22, with one more to join its fleet every 90 days.

Yesterday JetSuite and Wheels Up forged a new partnership that will give reciprocal benefits to their customers. In an agreement announced at the NBAA show in Las Vegas yesterday, Wheels Up members will have access to JetSuite’s fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna Citation CJ3 aircraft, giving them a light-jet alternative to the new company’s Beechcraft King Air 350i twin turboprops.

Wheels Up members will enjoy priority booking rights to the JetSuite aircraft and preferred pricing equivalent to that for JetSuite’s $50K SuiteKey Members. In return, JetSuite clients at the $100K SuiteKey level or above will be able to participate in the Wheels Down lifestyle and event service, which offers access to invitation-only events and networking opportunities.

The JetSuite aircraft will be available to Wheels Up (Booth No. C12749) members at fixed occupied hourly rates. The two companies will also collaborate to develop the latest mobile applications to post empty-leg availability for JetSuite flights and will also offer customized membership solutions.

JetSuite currently operates six CJ3s. The refurbished aircraft feature a new cabin interior with WiFi service and a cockpit upgrade to the Rockwell Collins ProLine 21 avionics suite to allow for over-water operations.

On Monday, Wheels Up took delivery of the first of up to 105 King Air 350i turboprops that it has ordered, and it is due to begin customer flights in November. The flights will be operated by Gama Charters. In August, the New York City-based start-up placed firm orders for 35 of the aircraft, with options for up to 70 more.

Last month, Wheels Up forged a partnership with VistaJet to market the Europe-based private flight provider’s new services in the U.S. Under this deal, Wheels Up members will be able to book flights in VistaJet’s Bombardier Global aircraft.

JetSuite’s Phenom 100s seat four passengers and, according to Embraer, have the largest baggage compartment in the very light jet class. The Irvine, Calif.-based company’s special-edition CJ3s accommodate six passengers with two aft-facing and four forward-facing leather seats (plus an optional seventh, sideways-facing seat).

“JetSuite has great synergy with Wheels Up, including top-notch customer service and industry-leading safety practices,” said Kenny Dichter, founder and CEO of Wheels Up. “This relationship with JetSuite enhances what Wheels Up provides our members by making access available to the most spacious, fuel-efficient jets, while maintaining the luxury and affordability of private air travel.”

“We are impressed with the Wheels Up membership model and look forward to working with Kenny Dichter and his team,” said JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox. “This type of partnership will help JetSuite continue to be the nation’s fastest-growing private jet company. Wheels Up has a lot of buzz here at NBAA and within the market already. We look forward to enhancing our SuiteKey Member benefits with the Wheels Down perks.”