Does Delta Air Lines Have Private Jets?

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Delta Air Lines has provided a $500 million lifeline to private jet company Wheels Up, following its merger with Delta Private Jets in 2019. The funds consist of $100 million in liquidity from Delta Air Lines and $400 million in loans from Certares Management LLC, Capital Management LLC, and Cox Enterprises. In return, Delta Air Lines and the investors will own 95% of Wheels Up. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian believes that the partnership will drive strategic improvements for Wheels Up and help the company become profitable. However, charter traffic from the US’ busiest private airports is reportedly down by 17% in the first half of 2023.

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Delta Air Lines, through its subsidiary Delta Private Jets, has merged with Wheels Up to form one of the largest private jet fleets. Delta Private Jets, originally founded as Comair Jet Express in 1984, aimed to offer private jets for flights to airports not served by Delta. The subsidiary was available as an upgrade for SkyMiles Elite members on specific routes. In 2019, Delta Air Lines announced the merger with Wheels Up, combining its fleet of over 70 business aircraft with Wheels Up’s fleet of more than 115 twin turboprops and jets. This merger marked Delta Air Lines’ exit from the private aviation sector. Recently, Delta Air Lines and three other investors provided Wheels Up with a $500 million lifeline to rescue the struggling company from bankruptcy. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian believes that Delta’s expertise, along with the strategic partners, will help turn around Wheels Up’s fortunes. Despite the financial support, charter traffic from the busiest private airports in the USA has reportedly decreased by 17% in the first half of 2023.

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