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Wheels Up Acquires Mountain Aviation and Its Massive Jet Fleet

Kat Bein | January 5, 2021 | Lifestyle

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Mountain Aviation flies the country's largest fleet of Part 135 Citation X jets.

Big news for private jet flyers. Leading private aviation brand Wheels Up has officially announced its acquisition of Mountain Aviation, marrying its commitment to on-demand flexibility and digital innovation with the United State's largest Part 135 Citation X fleet, as well as Mountain Aviation's full Part 145 maintenance capabilities.

Headquartered in Colorado, Mountain Aviation employs more than 300 aviation specialists including more than 150 pilots and 45 maintenance personnel across various locations, including Colorado, Anchorage and Thermal, CA. It's a big move for the industry that brings 59 new aircraft to Wheels Up's fleet, most of which are Citation X, with plans to add more Citation X in 2021.

With 3,460 nmi of range and a cruising speed of about 600 mph, the Cessna Citation X is regarded as the fastest civilian aircraft on the market. Alongside Mountain Aviation's expert mechanics and operators, Wheels Up believes this merger will greatly increase efficiency while meeting demand and better serving its growing clientelle.

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"We've come to know and greatly respect Mountain Aviation's talented team over the past few years and are excited to welcome them officially to our Wheels Up family," Wheels Up Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kenny Dichter is quoted in a press release. "We are aligned on culture, forward vision and business goals. This acquisition further strengthens the Wheels Up suite of products and services that we offer to our Members and Customers and enhances our unique total aviation solution positioning."

The merger follows on the heels of Wheels Up's 2019 acquition of Travel Management Company, which operates the industry's largest wholesale floating fleet of light jets. The latest move allows Wheels Up to broaden its customer base by servicing a recently awarded and growing government defense contract business, as well as expanding existing services to medical transportation customers.

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Mountain Aviation is a FAA Part 135 Air Carrier with ARGUS Platinum and DOD Commercial Airlift Review Board (CARB) qualifications. Its wholesale business will continue to operate independently without interruption of service. Mountain Aviation CEO Gregg Fahrenbruch will take the new title of Senior Vice President of Operation Strategy, running Mountain Aviation business alongside his existing leadership team. Wheels Up will migrate Mountain Aviation's legacy technology into its cloud-based Avianis platform, aiming for greater efficiencies, more automation and a further streamlined service for Wheels Up members and customers.

"This is an exciting day for all of us at Mountain Aviation," Fahrenbruch is quoted. "We are proud of what we've built and thrilled to join Kenny and the Wheels Up team to continue to expand and grow. It's remarkable to see how Wheels Up, with their vision to democratize, digitize, and disrupt, is transforming the industry."



Photography by: Courtesy Mountain Aviation