Corrected: Wheels Up Optimistic Amid Stabilized Losses


Charter/fractional operator Wheels Up reported in an earnings call today (May 9) that the company is “positioned for long-term profitable growth,” despite continued net losses and adjusted EBITDA numbers (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). As reported on the online news source Private Jet Card Comparisons, CEO George Mattson, who replaced company founder Kenny Dichter in September last year, and Chief Financial Officer Todd Smith cited several areas of progress for the company.

Among the most salient signs of optimism, the executives announced that customers who pay up front for future flights are guaranteed availability at contracted capped rates through assurances from Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian. Delta poured $500 million into Wheels Up last summer, staving off bankruptcy. Mattson, a former member of the Delta board of directors, recently quoted Bastion saying of Wheels Up, “We’re just getting started.”

Mattson cited several other positives for Wheels Up, including a 30% uptick in corporate block sales;14% improvement in block sales across the board year over year to $114 million; Delta has established a sales team to pitch Wheels Up’s private flying to Delta’s 40,000 accounts—and relaunched its business travel jet card programs last year; and Wheels Up recently hired Southwest Airlines’ chief sales officer to be chief commercial officer for his new employer.

For more raw numbers, first quarter revenues this year were down to $197 million from $352 million in Q1 2023. This was offset by reduced Q1 expenses—to $280 million from $448 million year over year. The net loss for Q1 was essentially flat compared with last year at $97 million.

In good news for Wheels Up customers: The first quarter of 2024 included 27 days without any flight cancellations within its “controlled” in-house fleet. Mattson called that the highest in more than two years “by far.” Wheels Up also matched its 98% flight completion rate and beat its on-time performance target by two points at 87%.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly described details of the 27 days without flight cancellations.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.


  1. Only losing 1.1 mill per day! It takes a first rate spin doctor to make this sound like good news. At the current burn rate the $500M Delta parachute from last summer will be past tense by October.

    No matter the spin UP is still in a -3/2 ratio. 3 parts expense to 2 parts revenue. Same ratio as Dichter experienced. In order to make money, and pay some debts, the ratio needs to be flipped 2/3. I submit that this is impossible even if Delta hired Harry Houdini.

  2. CEO, CFO, CCO: Maybe their problem is too many chiefs? Revenue dropped by 44% while expenses only dropped by 38% doesn’t sound too hopeful to me.

  3. Delta might have been smarter to have taken that 500 million and invest it in some “newer” used aircraft. They are still flying 30+ year old 757s and 767s and still fly B717s.