Following in the footsteps of its jet charter rivals, flyExclusive is going pubic via a SPAC acquisition. The deal values flyExclusive at $600 million and will provide $310 million in proceeds, which the company intends to use toward becoming the country’s first fully vertically integrated private aviation company.
The company enables its clients to fly on private jets via fractional aircraft ownership or its Jet Club program. While fractional owners share rights to jets, Jet Club members pay deposits ranging from $75,000 to $250,000 and then fees based on their travel. According to the company, “As one of the world’s largest operators of Cessna Citation aircraft with a floating fleet of over 90 jets, flyExclusive offers access to a network of personalized private aviation with on-demand flights that can service a myriad of specialized trip needs.”
In going public, flyExclusive follows rivals Flexjet, Inc. and Wheels Up onto the New York Stock Exchange. FlexJet announced it would go public just weeks ago as it builds its subscription-based private aviation business. WheelsUp went public in July of 2021 and focuses instead on creating a marketplace that sells flights using its own fleet as well as third party operators. Matterhorn Transactions provides comprehensive analysis of all of these deals.
Consumer interest in private travel surged during the pandemic, with business jet’s share of U.S. travel doubling since 2019 to now account for 25% of domestic flights. While overall air travel is down 13% since prior to the pandemic, private traffic is up approximately 15% as wealthy consumers make the switch. Whether these travelers began flying privately in order to avoid covid-19 and/or the many air travel woes caused by labor shortages, data suggests their switch to private travel may remain permanent.
According to the deal’s press release, “In just over seven years, flyExclusive has become one of the nations five largest private jet operators with triple digit membership growth and a 94% retention rate among existing members.” flyExclusive was advised by law firm Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP, while EG Acquisition Corp. was advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. The deal is expected to be completed in Q1 2023.