Beechcraft Corporation today presented the keys to the first King Air 350i to Wheels Up during a special delivery ceremony at the 2013 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas.
Beechcraft announced its partnership with membership-based private aviation company Wheels Up in August and an order for up to 105 King Air 350i aircraft, representing the largest general aviation propeller driven aircraft order in history with a value of up to $1.4 billion including support agreements.
“Today’s delivery is the culmination of many months of collaborative work between the Beechcraft and Wheels Up teams to structure a program for mutual success,” said Shawn Vick, Beechcraft executive vice president, Sales and Marketing. “On behalf of the 5,400 Beechcraft employees around the world, we are pleased to present the first King Air 350i to Wheels Up.”
The first 35 Beechcraft King Airs will be delivered to Wheels Up between now and mid-2015, which includes an additional eight deliveries to be made in 2013. The deal includes options for 70 additional aircraft as Wheels Up expands nationally over the next two to three years.
"As I've said before, we are extremely excited about the Beechcraft partnership with Wheels Up and I'm happy to report the marketplace is expressing their excitement, too,” said Kenny Dichter, founder and chief executive officer of Wheels Up. “In our early days of selling and taking our program to the consumer, we've seen an overwhelming response and interest in the King Air 350i aircraft. We are looking at history in the making in the private aviation business with the launch of the Wheels Up membership model, which offers travelers a total flight solution."
The Wheels Up King Air 350i aircraft includes 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; and 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 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.