GENEVA, Switzerland (May 19, 2015) – Beechcraft Corporation, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, today announced at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) that Wheels Up has exercised its option to purchase the next 35 King Air 350i turboprops from its initial order placed in 2013. The additional aircraft will help expand the membership-based private aviation company’s fleet throughout the United States.
Nearly two years ago, Wheels Up made the largest order in history for general aviation turboprop aircraft, encompassing up to 105 King Air 350i aircraft and including maintenance, service and support. The company took delivery of its first King Air 350i at NBAA 2013 and immediately began service.
To date, Wheels Up has taken delivery of 31 of its initial order of 35 King Air 350i aircraft. Deliveries of the additional 35 aircraft, which will be outfitted with the new Pro Line Fusion avionics system, are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016. The private aviation company also has taken delivery of 10 factory-custom refurbished Cessna Citation Excel/XLS aircraft.
“The Textron Aviation family is proud that Wheels Up not only chose the King Air 350i to launch its revolutionary company, but that we can now offer them the industry’s widest range of aircraft solutions to support their growth,” said Scott Ernest, Textron Aviation president and CEO. “We look forward to expanding our relationship for years to come as Wheels Up continues to grow its membership.”
“I feel like we are just getting started,” said Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up founder and CEO, in connection with exercising the option for the next tranche of King Air 350i aircraft. “Our current Wheels Up fleet plan calls for 175 King Air 350i and 50 Cessna Citation Excel/XLS by 2021, and we are exploring ways to incorporate additional Textron products onto the Wheels Up platform. Europe is an ideal market for the King Air 350i and remains a focus for future expansion for Wheels Up.”
About the Beechcraft King Air 350i
The King Air 350i is the flagship of the twin-turboprop family with seating for up to nine passengers in the most comfortable and capable cabin offered in its class. The Wheels Up King Air 350i aircraft includes several special enhancements for Wheels Up members including state-of-the-art interiors, Wi-Fi connectivity and a luxury lavatory vanity. As its segment’s most efficient aircraft, the King Air 350i can take more passengers farther on less fuel for consistent savings.
More than 7,300 Beechcraft King Air turboprops have been delivered to customers around the world since 1964, making it the best-selling business turboprop family in the world. The worldwide fleet has surpassed 60 million flight hours in its first 50 years, serving roles in all branches of the U.S. military, and flying commercial missions ranging from traditional passenger and cargo transport to electronic and imagery surveillance, air ambulance, airway calibration, photographic mapping, training and weather modification.
Wheels Up and Textron Aviation at EBACE
About Textron Aviation Inc.
Textron Aviation Inc. is the leading general aviation authority and home to the iconic Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker brands, which account for more than half of all general aviation aircraft flying. The Textron Aviation companies include Cessna Aircraft Company and Beechcraft Corporation, bringing together decades of unmatched experience in designing, building and supporting airplanes. It provides the most versatile and comprehensive general aviation product portfolio in the world through five principal lines of business: business jets, general aviation and special mission turboprop aircraft, high performance piston aircraft, military trainer and defense aircraft, and a complete global customer service organization. Its broad range of products include such best-selling aircraft as Citation and Hawker business jets, King Air and Caravan turboprops and T-6 military trainer aircraft, all of which are backed by the industry’s largest global service network. For more information, visit txtav.com.
About Textron Inc.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. For more information visit: www.textron.com.
About Wheels Up
Wheels Up is a revolutionary membership-based private aviation company that significantly reduces the upfront cost to fly privately, while providing unparalleled flexibility, service and safety. Created and led by Kenny Dichter, the Founder of Marquis Jet and innovator of the 25-hour fractional jet card, Wheels Up offers “mission-appropriate” aircraft with guaranteed availability on its “members-only” private fleet of new King Air 350i and Citation Excel/XLS aircraft. Operating with an 8760 culture (24 hours a day, 365 days of the year), the Company offers individual, family and corporate members exceptional world-class service with around the clock support. The cutting-edge Wheels Up mobile app enables members to seamlessly book flights, manage their accounts, and participate in ride share opportunities to maximize the value of the Wheels Up membership experience. Wheels Up Members also have access to the Wheels Down program, featuring exclusive lifestyle events and experiences, unique partner benefits and a full-service luxury concierge, which is also integrated in the Wheels Up app.
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.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, cancellations or deferrals of orders; changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of commercial products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; volatility in interest rates or foreign exchange rates; risks related to our international business, including relying on joint venture partners, subcontractors, suppliers, representatives, consultants and other business partners in connection with international business, including in emerging market countries.