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Delta Air to acquire stake in private aviation provider Wheels Up

Delta Air Lines Inc. said it was partnering with Wheels Up Partners LLC, taking an unspecified equity stake in the private aircraft transportation services provider.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed in early 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Delta said the transaction would not affect its financial guidance for 2019.

The deal aims to make private-jet travel accessible to more consumers and is part of Delta's efforts to expand beyond its core business, according to Delta CEO Ed Bastian.

Upon the deal's closing, Wheels Up is expected to have more than 190 private planes and over 8,000 members and customers, the companies said in a Dec. 12 press release. Wheels Up Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter will keep his role.

Separately, Delta said it expects to earn between $6.75 per share and $7.75 per share in 2020. The company is also targeting revenue growth of 4% to 6% next year and free cash flow of $4 billion.