Beechcraft Secures Largest General Aviation Propeller Aircraft Order in History, Valued at $1.4 Billion
Deal includes up to 105 King Air 350i aircraft and associated maintenance services for Wheels Up, a new private aviation membership company, formed by Marquis Jet founder
WICHITA, Kan. (Aug. 1, 2013) – Beechcraft Corporation today announced it has secured an order for up to a total of 105 King Air 350i aircraft, valued at $788 million, from Wheels Up, representing the largest general aviation propeller driven aircraft order in history. Wheels Up is a membership-based private aviation program that eliminates fixed costs and provides unparalleled flexibility established by Kenny Dichter and the team that founded Marquis Jet, which redefined private air travel with the first 25-hour fractional jet card program. Beechcraft has been named the aircraft and comprehensive maintenance provider for Wheels Up in North America and Western Europe, with the entire value of the deal totaling up to $1.4 billion.
The first 35 Beechcraft King Airs will be delivered to Wheels Up between now and mid-2015 with the first nine deliveries to be made in 2013. Wheels Up will initially focus on the Northeastern United States. The deal includes options for 70 additional aircraft as Wheels Up expands nationally over the next two to three years.
Bill Boisture, Beechcraft Chief Executive Officer, said, “The Beechcraft King Air 350i is the perfect aircraft for Wheels Up due to its proven track record of tremendous flexibility and efficiency for regional travel. The pairing of the 350i and support from our world-class maintenance organization with the innovative founders and management team of Wheels Up is a winning combination.”
Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are excited to offer the King Air 350i for the first time on an exclusive basis in a national fleet format as Wheels Up redefines private aviation’s entry point.”
The Wheels Up King Air 350i aircraft will have several special enhancements for Wheels Up members including state-of-the-art interiors, Wi-Fi connectivity and a luxury lavatory vanity. The Wheels Up deal also includes a comprehensive maintenance program from Beechcraft valued at more than $600 million. This includes service for airframe, engines, avionics and propellers; scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, labor, parts and consumables. From its Hawker Beechcraft Services Wilmington, Del., hub, which is strategically located for this program, the maintenance program will also include mobile AOG support.
With class-leading capabilities and efficiency, the next-generation King Air 350i is the responsible, sustainable alternative that private aviation has been waiting for. As its segment’s greenest aircraft, the King Air 350i can take more passengers farther on less fuel for consistent savings. State-of-the-art design and performance options represent new heights of power and durability. The King Air 350i’s new interior is the most comfortable and capable cabin ever offered in its class. Whether traveling to major airports or unimproved airstrips, the versatility and comfort of the King Air 350i demonstrates why pilots, families, companies and governments in 105 countries have trusted more than 7,000 King Airs over the years – more than any other aircraft.
About Beechcraft Corporation
Beechcraft Corporation designs, builds and supports versatile and globally renowned aircraft, including the King Air turboprops, piston-engine Baron and Bonanza, and the T-6 trainer and AT-6 light attack military aircraft. Its 5,400 highly skilled employees are focused on continuously improving the company’s products and services which are sold to individuals, businesses and governments worldwide. In business since 1932, Beechcraft has built more than 54,000 aircraft and more than 36,000 continue flying today. It leads the industry with a global network of more than 90 factory-owned and authorized service centers. The company’s headquarters and major manufacturing facilities are located in Wichita, Kan. For more information, visit beechcraft.com or follow us on Twitter @Beechcraft.
About Wheels Up
Wheels Up is a revolutionary membership-based private aviation company that eliminates fixed costs and provides unparalleled flexibility created and led by Kenny Dichter, the founder of Marquis Jet and innovator of the first 25-hour fractional jet card. Wheels Up has developed proprietary cutting-edge applications and offers unrivaled personalized service, providing members with a unique high-tech and high-touch experience. With a modest initiation fee and reasonable annual dues, Wheels Up is designed to appeal to individuals and corporations currently flying privately, as well as new entrants to private aviation. Wheels Up has forged an exclusive partnership with Beechcraft to offer members closed fleet access to Beechcraft King Air 350i for the first time redefining the entry point for private aviation. With an 8,760-hour culture (referencing the number of hours in a year), Wheels Up membership includes Wheels Down, a corresponding lifestyle concierge service engaging members off the tarmac, through exclusive offerings such as special programs around major sporting events (e.g. The Masters golf tournament and the Super Bowl), intimate concerts with top performers, culinary experiences with some of the world’s top chefs, meet-and-greet opportunities with entertainers, politicians, and business luminaries. For additional information, please visit www.WheelsUp.com, or call 212-257-5252.