100 Most Influential Rahul Bhatia© HelloIndia

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Rahul Bhatia

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Ananya Shankar

Why he matters: With his sky-high ambitions playing pilot, Rahul Bhatia has steered IndiGo towards dominating India’s airspace—quite literally! Today, the airline soars higher and is one of the world’s fastest growing low-cost carriers. 

As all frequent fliers must know, come rain or shine, an IndiGo flight is always on time. And for this emphasis on efficiency, we have Managing Director Rahul Bhatia to thank. “If you keep driving costs down and improving efficiency, the runway is long,” Bhatia holds firmly.

With the simple philosophy of offering affordable fares and a hassle-free flying experience, with a fleet of over 300 aircraft, the brand propelled itself to becoming one of the fastest growing low-cost carriers in the world. In fact, they recently placed a large order with Airbus for 500 A320s! 

Turbulence To Triumph

Seventeen years ago, Bhatia, along with airline veteran Rakesh Gangwal, co- founded IndiGo. An electrical engineering graduate from the University of Waterloo, he wanted to venture into the telecom industry, but when that didn’t pan out, his father Kapil Bhatia, who had already established his foothold in the travel industry, guided him down this road—or should we say runway... 

Bhatia joined the family business and named it InterGlobe, which is IndiGo’s parent company today. InterGlobe’s hospitality sector also comprises 19 hotels in India and 14 hotels abroad.

Keeping it within the family, Bhatia’s wife, Rohini, is the chairperson of the group’s CSR committee, heading their philanthropic arm. She was on the board of InterGlobe Aviation, as well, a position from which she recently resigned.

Despite his astronomical success, this aviation billionaire remains a man of simple pleasures. For instance, last year, YP Rajesh, Editor at Reuters News Agency, shared a photo of the mogul on an IndiGo flight, wearing a casual orange shirt and enjoying his chai with some of India’s favourite Parle-G biscuits... It doesn’t get more grounded than this. 

Wings Of Ambition 

The game of aviation is a tough one, where many players have been known to go bankrupt. However, holding the number one spot and expecting to welcome 100 million passengers on board in the upcoming year, IndiGo has established its position as India’s largest domestic airline today—with Bhatia holding the reins. 

While they already fly to 27 destinations overseas, their ambitions continue to soar. With Bhatia’s guidance, IndiGo is all set to become a leading carrier internationally, as well. With this long- time aviation expert leading the charge, the sky’s truly the limit.  

Photo Courtesy: Ashish Sharma

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!