FLYING Magazine

Wheels Up has confirmed that it has laid off a number of pilots effective immediately.

Different sources have estimated the number as between 11 percent and as high as 20 percent. The company issued a statement to Private Jet Card Comparisons, an online news source that specializes in shared ownership aviation companies and their pricing programs.

“As a matter of policy, Wheels Up does not comment on personnel matters out of respect for the privacy of those involved,” the Wheels Up statement read in part. “However, given the release of internal communications, we do feel it is our responsibility to publicly acknowledge the macro industry factors were the largest contributor to our decision. The sharp decline in our pilot attrition rates in the first half of this year, due in part to a reduction of pilot hiring at the commercial airlines and pilots choosing to stay at Wheels Up, created the staffing imbalance that led to today’s actions.”

The statement cited that aligning its pilot roster with the size of its fleet is critical and “the abnormalities in the industry over these last few months made appropriate staffing forecasting against regular attrition challenging.”

Wheels Up did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday from AVweb for comment.

Despite a $500 million funding package from Delta Air Lines and a new management team, Wheels Up has continued to report losses, though executives still expect to return to profitability by the end of this year. The company reports it fleet includes around 170 aircraft: 59 Beech King Air turboprops, 43 Cessna Citation X super-midsize jets, and 35 Hawker 400XP light jets.

Earlier this month, according to a Jet Card Comparisons report, Wheels Up reduced daily minimum flight times for its jet aircraft and cut back the number of peak days for its entry-level program customers. In September, Wheels Up divested its aircraft management division.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AVweb.

The post Wheels Up Confirms Pilot Layoffs appeared first on FLYING Magazine.

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