Wheels Up reveals orange plane to raise awareness of food banks and hunger


Private aviation company Wheels Up has revealed its orange Beechcraft King Air 350i aircraft to raise awareness of food insecurity in the USA.

The aircraft, which is being operated in partnership with Textron Aviation is part of the ongoing Wheels Up Cares and Meals Up initiatives launched in March 2020 to help support the growing levels of food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis.

According to Wheels Up the program has already raised and inspired the equivalent of more than 47 million meals for Feeding America. The “Wheels Up Orange Plane” is a flying symbol to raise awareness for food insecurity and in honor of Feeding America and the frontline workers at the 200 member food banks across the nation and will be a permanent part of the Wheels Up fleet, said the company.

In recognition of Hunger Action Month, last week the control towers at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and the pylons at LAX lit up orange to help bring attention to the issue of hunger, taking note of the extenuating circumstances food banks are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apparel brand Sportiqe has also joined the cause and donated 50,000 meals to take action against hunger.

Kenny Dichter, founder and CEO of Wheels Up said, “We kicked off the Meals Up initiative back in March with one purpose – to help feed people.

“We are grateful to Ron Draper and Textron Aviation for once again donating the design and livery of the Orange Plane to shine a light on this important cause. We are excited that Textron Aviation has joined the Meals Up movement and we are energized by their generous donation of 500,000 meals.”

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America said, “Wheels Up has been a steadfast partner to Feeding America. We thank them for their continued contributions and for helping us rally the nation to end hunger in our communities.

“Hunger Action Month is just that – a time for us all to act – and provide meals for the millions of Americans who need our help, especially during these unprecedented times.”

Ron Draper, president and CEO of Textron Aviation said, “Textron Aviation is honored to be partnering with Kenny Dichter and Wheels Up, once again, in their Wheels Up Cares initiative.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we come together to support the many people affected by this pandemic. In addition to the donation of the paint to the aircraft, we are proud to be providing a monetary gift to the Meals Up effort, which will provide more than 500,000 meals to feed members of our communities across the nation.”

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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