Private aviation membership company Wheels Up is acquiring 17 more Beechcraft King Air 350i twin-turboprop airplanes from Wichita-based Textron Aviation.
That will bring the New York-based company’s fleet to 75 King Airs, founder and CEO Kenny Dichter said Monday.
The company also has a fleet of about 15 pre-owned Cessna Citation Excel/XLS business jets.
Dichter said Wheels Up took delivery of five King Airs on Friday, leaving the company with 12 more to be delivered over the next year.
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The acquisition comes after Wheels Up received a $90 million debt funding commitment from KKR & Co., a New York-based multinational private equity firm.
Dichter said “it’s incredibly validating for the Wheels Up model” to have an investor of KKR’s caliber on board.
Earlier on Monday, Dichter appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Talk” to discuss the KKR investment and King Air purchase. On the program, he also said the nearly 4-year-old company is expecting to end 2017 with $300 million in revenue.
He also suggested that Wheels Up plans to add to its business jet fleet with an entirely different Citation jet.
“I think by year end, we’re going to see those (Citation) X’s hit the ramp,” he said on the show.
Dichter would not elaborate on that comment in an interview with The Eagle. But he said in an April interview with The Eagle that Wheels Up was planning to add the eight- to nine-seat passenger jet to its fleet in the next decade.