For many people, the days of air travel are about to become as simple as requesting an Uber. Private aviation firm Wheels Up looks to capitalize on the increasing growth in private air travel.
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During an interview on the FOX Business Network Mornings with Maria, Wheels Up Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter told Maria Bartiromo the company has seen the number of its members double in the last year due to an increase in access to private travel.
“The key for us is to democratize the space. You need a bigger addressable market and with our King Air 350i offering, we really broaden the space and we’ve taken to a much larger customer base,” Dichter said.
Dichter described the King Air 350i as a “flying SUV” with seating for eight passengers and eight golf bags, making it significantly more economical than comparable jet aircraft.
Wheels Up offers a variety of new products through its membership tier including a ridesharing program through its app that allows its members to fill up any unused seats available by other Wheels Up members from your smartphone.
“You are [flying] with like-minded folks that are already members of the club. They been vetted and verified because they are members already,” Dichter said. “And again, in less than a two hour flight, you might meet somebody and do some business.”
Dichter credits its membership business model to the likes of Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), where membership retention rates continue to grow in a shared economy.
The Wheels Up CEO discussed his vision for the next three to five years and how he plans to expand the business.
“We see ourselves doubling the whole private aviation pyramid,” Dichter said.