Akasa Air Sans Its Pioneer

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, a seasoned stock investor, passed suddenly on Sunday morning at the age of 62. Just a week prior, Jhunjhunwala, sometimes jokingly referred to as India’s Warren Buffett due to his success in the stock market, was celebrating the inaugural flight of Akasa Air, the nation’s newest airline, on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.

Despite being in a wheelchair, Jhunjhunwala made a joke in his signature way about how the airline made rivals take note of the product even before it started. In a brief speech at the ceremony, he advised the Akasa management and employees to be economical as the low-cost carrier grew its business without sacrificing either passenger comfort or the quality of the final product.

Jhunjhunwala’s comments would be echoing in the minds of Akasa CEO Vinay Dube and other members of his team following his unexpected death on Sunday morning. Not every day do well-known investors choose to take a chance with a high-risk, low-yield industry like aviation.

Jhunjhunwala purchased a stake of more than 40% in the LCC for $35 million. Not only was it one of his final significant investments, but it was also something he held dear to his heart. On the airline’s inaugural flight, passengers recalled how a typically restrained Jhunjhunwala freely mixed with them for discussions and selfies.

The CEO further added that the airlines would miss the charisma and advice of Jhunjhunwala although the success of the airline may be at risk because of the death of the veteran investor. The airline does have other investors as well.

However, it is known of Jhunjhunwala to not have made any investments that have not fared well and so the success of Akasa Air may be a truth in the near future.