IndiGo founders at loggerheads with each other: report

Rakesh Gangwal (L) and Rahul Bhatia (R). Photo via Indigo website.

Days after Jet Airways grounded its entire fleet of aircrafts, in what seems to be more bad news for India’s aviation industry, disputes between IndiGo founders – Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal – are speculated to impact the functioning of the carrier.

Business channel ET Now, citing sources, reported that the airlines founders differences over the ambitions and the strategies for the airline have been increased.

Both founders are, however, trying to iron out the differences so that the functioning of the airline isn’t impacted. The report also said that the differences have escalated in the past few weeks, however, they are at a very nascent stage for any formal legal dispute.

IndiGo on its part, has called it as mere speculation.

Gangwal, a US citizen, has always been ambitious of the IndiGo’s growth plans. differences cropped up on several occasions in the last two years, with Gangwal supporting growth at breakneck speed to harness the potential of India’s aviation market and some of the airline’s management and on occasion, Bhatia, opting for a more cautious approach.

In fact, in February 2018, Gangwal declared that FY19 would see IndiGo increasing its capacity by 52%, more than it had ever done. The plan was to increase its fleet size to 250 from 155. The move was opposed by its management, including the then president Aditya Ghosh, saying this would create problems of overcapacity and impact yields. Gangwal is said to have brushed aside Ghosh’s fears stating that with India’s potential, nothing less than 500 aircraft was too many. This ultimately led to Ghosh resigning from the company.

IndiGo currently has a fleet of 225 and is a market leader with 47% market share. Any impact on the operations will results in a hike in the domestic airfares. The airline operates close to 1,400 flights, across 71 domestic and international destinations.

Gangwal and his family own 36.69% stake in the IndiGo, while Bhatia and his family own 38.26%.

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