India’s aviation sector is poised to become the third-largest in the world by 2026. Research and Markets predict that the expanding Indian middle class will fuel the growth in air passenger traffic at an expected CAGR of 8.5%. The commercial aircraft fleet is also expected to witness substantial growth in the next decade. In view of these developments, we delve deeper into the trajectories of visionary entrepreneurs who are working assiduously behind the scenes to unlock India’s aviation potential.
Jaideep Mirchandani, Group Chairman of Sky One FZE
As the architect of a sprawling aviation conglomerate, Sky One FZE, Mr. Mirchandani has worked hard to create a comprehensive array of services, including Cargo Charters, Asset Trading, training, MRO, advisory, and capacity optimization. Sky One FZE provides crucial support to airlines across the globe during peak time and specializes in charter services for Hajj and Umrah passengers. By forging wet leasing agreements with leading passenger and cargo airlines globally, Mr. Mirchandani has transformed Sky One FZE into one of the most profitable and versatile entities in the aviation sector and a leading privately owned aviation company.. Even though Sky One FZE is based in the UAE, it stands out among the airlines actively shaping the future of aviation in India and its helicopter charter service – Sky One Airways providing services for charter, cargo, ambulance as well as emergency services. Mr Mirchandani has plans to expand collaborations in India’s burgeoning aviation space and is initiating partnerships in the industry. His visionary expertise extends beyond civil aviation, as Sky One FZE plays a major role in developing the next generation of pilots and aviation technicians through their state-of-the-art Pier Seven Aviation Academy, which has become the first choice for Indian students. It is evident hence that the names of Jaideep Mirchandani and Sky One FZE are poised to dominate the Indian aviation story in the years to come.
Vinod Kannan, CEO of Vistara
Vistara, which commenced operations with just two aircraft in 2015, has rapidly expanded its fleet to encompass 61 aircraft. By March-April 2024, this full-service carrier is anticipated to have a fleet of over 70 aircraft. The rapidity of Vistara’s growth can be attributed to the astuteness of its CEO, Vinod Kannan. Initially assuming the role of Chief Strategy Officer in June 2019, he ascended to the position of CEO in 2022. Currently, with a workforce of 5,500 members, Vistara operates in 32 domestic and 15 international destinations. A significant development on the horizon is the proposed merger between Vistara and Air India. Mr. Kannan however is looking beyond this significant merger and has already articulated a broader vision for the incorporation of new routes, increased investment in personalised customer experiences as well as service enhancements. The enterprising CEO has further disclosed intentions to augment the airline’s international route capacity by 40 percent. This is an ambitious plan, considering Vistara commenced international operations only in 2019. As it stands, Vistara is poised to play a pivotal role in India’s aviation sector shortly.
Rahul Bhatia, Non-Executive Director of IndiGo Airlines
Having claimed 55 percent of India’s domestic market share in 2023, IndiGo Airlines is a major player in the country’s aviation sector. The company now has a fleet of 300 aircraft and as of October 2023, it flies to a total of 111 short-haul destinations, including 79 domestic and 32 international destinations within Asia. The visionary behind this scale of success is Rahul Bhatia, the co-founder and non-executive director of IndiGo and Group managing director of InterGlobe Enterprises. Recently, he oversaw a rather momentous development as IndiGo set a record for the largest order ( 500 Airbus A320 aircraft) in India’s aviation history. This agreement solidifies IndiGo’s position as the world’s largest A320 customer. The delivery of these aircraft is expected to be completed by 2035 and will contribute to cargo capacity expansion. It will also undoubtedly equip IndiGo to meet the diverse travel needs of millions of Indians and cement its position as a peerless aviation leader.