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Wheels Up, a leading brand in private aviation, at a press conference at this year’s NBAA convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, introduced its new president, Vinayak Hegde, and chief operating officer, retired lieutenant general (US Air Force), Thomas W. Bergeson.
The press event was organized as a discussion forum that focused on the company’s plans to expand its next-generation technology-driven platform, the Wheels Up Marketplace.
Founder and CEO, Kenny Dichter, opened the discussion by saying, “We landed $656 million of fresh capital on our balance sheet, and that gives us tremendous flexibility and resources to take our vision to the next level.
“Capital in our business and public equity, that’s equivalent to the runway. Everybody in this room knows that the runway is very important for a lot of reasons, but having that runway and that positioning as the first company to have public currency, and a very healthy balance sheet, that’s super exciting times for Wheels Up.”
With its next-generation technology-driven platform, the Wheels Up Marketplace is expanding the addressable market and is increasing the accessibility of private air travel from hundreds of thousands to millions of consumers.
“What I see when I see the private aviation industry… it reminds me of what I saw when I joined Amazon in 2000,” said new president, Hegde. “A lack of technology, a lack of customer-centricity, and this massive opportunity in what I call, ‘The Marketplace,’ — where we can actually match demand with supply.
“We are one of the few companies which have an actual app, but when I compare it with the apps that are built at Amazon, Groupon, or Airbnb, there’s a lot more we can do,” added Hegde. “If you make buying easier, if you provide price transparency, if you offer an amazing customer experience, more and more people will come and buy for us, and that’s what we’re striving for. We want to make use of technology, not for the sake of using technology, but to make the customer experience better.”