Sunday, September 26, 2021

After losing 18 kg, the Big Bull is ready to fly, scoffs at the skeptics

Mumbai: One of India’s richest investors, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, on Friday acknowledged that there is a lot of skepticism for his latest entrepreneurial venture, Akasa Airline, but he is hopeful.

“I see a lot of skepticism for the airline, but I am hopeful about it,” he told India Today in an interview.

Jhunjhunwala, who is referred to as the Warren Buffett of India, has invested Rs 260 crore in a new budget airline venture piloted by aviation veteran Vinay Dube. The airline is expected to launch operation soon. Dube told Times of India that SNV Aviation, the holding company of Akasa Airline, is awaiting a no objection certificate from the aviation ministry.

The veteran investor’s investment in the airline business comes at a time when the civil aviation sector is facing its biggest crisis because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Domestic travel restrictions due to the pandemic and halt to international commercial flights have haunted the sector.

Jhunjhunwala’s investment has drawn support from the investment community, but has largely been met with skepticism given the difficulties involved with running an airline in India. Prior to the pandemic, Jet Airways, one of India’s oldest airlines, was grounded due to bankruptcy.

The sector has been constantly marred by price wars and heavy costs, which make cash generation a challenge.

In the interview, Jhunjhunwala also opened up about his troubles in the past few years for the first time. The ace investor said he has lost 18 kg weight and become non-diabetic after being bed-ridden for 18 months and suffering through a bout of Covid-19.

25/09/21 Economic Times

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