New Delhi: Indian business magnate Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is considering investing $35 million in an ultra-low-cost airline that may take off by this year-end, reports said.
It will be called Akasa Air and Jhunjhunwala is planning to have a fleet of 70 aircrafts for the same, Bloomberg said. For each carrier, there shall be a capacity of boarding 180 people each.
He is expecting to get a no-objection certificate from India’s aviation ministry in the next 15 days, he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.
“For the culture of a company to be frugal you’ve to start off fresh,” Jhunjhunwala said in the interview. “I’m very, very bullish on India’s aviation sector in terms of demand.”
Jhunjhunwala is foraying into an industry that has suffered significant losses due to the ongoing COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, domestic airlines like Kingfisher and Jet Airways were struggling and had to close shop.
Earlier on Wednesday, minister of state for civil aviation V K Singh said that there are around 11 million domestic air passengers in the country, which is 53 per cent less than the January-March period. Moreover, a total of 5,637 domestic flights were cancelled in the March-June period this year amid the second wave of COVID-19, the minister said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
Yet, Jhunjhunwala is a step ahead.
“I think some of the increment players may not recover. I’ve got some of the best airline people in the world as my partners,” he said. The report said that Jhunjhunwala includes a former senior executive of Delta Air Lines Inc.
About Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, the ace investor — also called ‘Warren Buffett of India’ — has amassed a wealth of $4.6 billion over 35 years of investing. The 61-year-old is the 54th richest Indian, with his most valuable listed holding being the watch and jewelry maker Titan.
According to Forbes, his net worth rose from $1.9 billion to $4.3 billion between 2020 and 2021.