NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The stock market's bumpy September ride is not creating significant turbulence for private jet travel provider Wheels Up. It just closed a $115 million investment round led by T. Rowe Price (TROW - Get Report) and CEO Kenny Dichter said things are very much looking up.
"The larger the jet is, the more exposure that jet has to the marketplace. We are more of a utility," said Dichter, adding that his company is "uniquely positioned" to take advantage of any downturn or volatility in the stock market due to its low price points and high-touch service offerings.
Dichter said the secret to Wheels Up's success will be its fleet of King Air 350i aircraft, a nine-seat plane manufactured by Textron (TXT - Get Report) that he said appeals to those that currently fly privately, as well as those new to private aviation.
"It's the most iconic airplane ever built," said Dichter. Of 7,800 manufactured since 1963, 6,700 are still flying. "It's a Mack truck."
The company is betting it can grow the ranks of private flyers by offering customers memberships similar to the ones offered by Costco or Amazon Prime. Like those shopping clubs, Wheels Up does not require a major up-front payment or long-term commitment. Wheels Up offers hourly pricing on a pay-as-you-fly basis, so members pay only for hours flown.
"It's a recurring revenue stream, so our collective member base pays for our ability to have the planes in position when people need them," said Dichter, who helped pioneer the fractional jet card market when he co-founded Marquis Jet in 2001. Marquis Jet was later sold to Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A - Get Report) NetJets in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.
Will Dichter take Wheels Up public at some point? He said having investors such as T. Rowe Price portfolio manager Henry Ellenbogen on board certainly increases the odds for an IPO liftoff.
"I think with the recurring revenue model and with the durability of earnings that such a sticky model can produce, I think we will be ready in about two years time," said Dichter.