The King of Sky Naresh Goyal, Founder of Jet Airwayas to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at 5th Annual India Leadership Conclave 2014
The King of Sky Naresh Goyal, Founder of Jet Airwayas to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at 5th Annual India Leadership Conclave 2014
ILC Power Brand will be crowned to Naresh Goyal as a tribute to His Contribution to Indian Aviation Industry
Naresh Goyal, the founder Chairman of Jet Airways, India’s premier airline, has over 4 decades of experience in the Civil Aviation industry.In addition to his responsibilities at Jet Airways, Mr. Goyal was also appointed Chairman of Jet Lite (India) Limited in 2007, following the acquisition and subsequent re-branding of the erstwhile Sahara Airlines Limited. After graduating in Commerce in 1967, Mr. Goyal joined the travel business with the GSA for Lebanese International Airlines. From 1967 to 1974, he underwent extensive training in all facets of the travel business through his association with several foreign airlines. He also travelled overseas extensively on business during this period.
With the experience, expertise and technical know-how thereby acquired, in May 1974, Mr. Naresh Goyal founded Jetair (Private) Limited with the objective of providing Sales and Marketing representation to foreign airlines in India. He was involved in the development of traffic patterns, route structures, operational economics and flight scheduling, all of which has made him an authority in the world of aviation and travel.
In 1991, as part of the ongoing diversification of his business activities, Mr. Goyal took advantage of the opening of the Indian economy and the enunciation of the Open Skies Policy by the Government of India to set up Jet Airways for the operation of scheduled air services on domestic sectors in India. Jet Airways commenced commercial operations on May 05, 1993.
With his vast experience in the field of aviation, Mr. Goyal currently serves on the prestigious International Air Transport Association (IATA) Board of Governors for the year 2009-2010, having earlier served on the Board from 2008 – 2009 and 2004-2006. Naresh Goyal has the kind of house that makes you stop and gawp and wonder who could possibly live there – an elegant white stucco-fronted townhouse in a secluded road with sweeping views across Regent’s Park.
Goyal, 57, is one of India’s super-rich, a generation of businessmen redefining the world’s largest democracy. The Sunday Times this year ranked him as the sixth richest Asian living in Britain, estimating his wealth at £780m. He has lived in London since 1991.
He is also an entirely self-made man. From modest beginnings, sleeping in his uncle’s travel agency in Delhi, where he worked during the day, Goyal has weaved through the thicket of Indian bureaucracy to build the country’s biggest domestic airline, Jet Airways. Now his aim is to go global. The airline began flying between India and Britain last year and has plans to rapidly expand the number of routes across Europe, Asia and the United States.
The front door is opened by one of a retinue of smartly dressed Indian staff. The scent of Indian cooking mixes with the smell of blossom from the park. The decor is an ornate mix of European and Indian; figurines in Grecian robes on the mantlepiece and a painting of a young girl in a sari in the dining room.
Goyal is a small man with a white moustache that curls upwards when he smiles, something he does readily. His conversation is punctured by a guttural “eeeee”, which dissolves into laughter. He is an incorrigible name-dropper. The names spill out of his mouth like cards being flung from a Rolodex. Lord Paul give him a call, he says, in his thick Indian accent. Lord Marshall, you can talk to him, ask him about me. Lakshmi Mittal, give him a call. I will get their numbers for you, he enthuses.
But it is not just bluster. They do take the calls. “In India today he has the best airline,” says Lord Paul, the Labour peer who has known Goyal for five or six years. “He has really built that airline from scratch. I admire him and he is really very well regarded in India. He is a very lovely man. You are happy to be in his company.”
Lord Marshall, the former boss of British Airways also returns the compliments that Goyal sends his way. “Naresh has built his business very successfully indeed,” he says. “He is an amazing man. He is in perpetual motion. He never seems to relax and is here, there and everywhere. He is one of those people who learns an awful lot by being curious and asking questions. He is very charismatic and has an incredible array of contacts and, in many cases, friends.”
Goyal was born in 1949 in Patiala, in Punjab. His father, a jewellery dealer, died when he was a child. He got, he says, “just a basic education, not a very good school or anything” and, at 18, moved to Delhi, where he worked with his uncle as a sales agent for Lebanese International Airlines. For three years he slept in the office and earned about £25 a month.
He began to build contacts and, in 1974, with £500 from his mother, he set up his own agency named Jetair, representing the likes of Air France, Austrian Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
The Indian government had nationalised the airline industry in 1953, leaving only Indian Airlines domestically and Air India on international routes. But in 1991, the market began to open up. The government allowed what it described as air taxis to operate – private carriers could fly but they could not print time tables.
Goyal spotted an opportunity. With backing from Gulf Air and Kuwaiti Air, he leased four aircraft and began Jet Airways in 1993. He hired talent from airlines he admired and overcame the constraints of not being able to publish a schedule with inventive zeal.
“Let’s say we had a flight at 7 o’clock in the morning,” he recalls. “You know, people in India generally have a late breakfast. So we would announce to the papers, we have an early morning breakfast flight, which means about 7 o’clock. Then we would say we have a flight late breakfast time, which used to be 9.25. The same flights are still operating. Then we say we have a flight late lunchtime, which is still operating, that’s the 13.50. Then we say we have a flight high tea time, which is 5 o’clock.” And so it went for a year, until the government relented and allowed private scheduled airlines.
The partnership with the Gulf carriers was no accident. A large number of Indians work in the region and flights were going only into India’s main cities. Goyal’s idea was to link those with smaller cities, match schedules and get cross promotion.
In the early years, Goyal and everyone else had to roll up their sleeves. “The pilot would even clean the toilet to keep the aircraft clean,” he says. “I had never cleaned a toilet in my life. I would never do it. But I did at that time.”
In its first year of operation, Jet carried 730,000 passengers. Last year, the company, which now has a fleet of 55 aircraft, carried 10 million people, serving a middle class in India reckoned to be 300-million strong. Goyal cites Singapore Airlines as his model because of its reputation for reliability and quality of service. Regarded in India as a shrewd businessman, he has built an enviable reputation for Jet. Revenues last year reached $1.4bn (£757m).
The ride has not been entirely smooth. Jet Airways’ market share peaked at 46% but has fallen to 35% as aggressive new low-cost carriers have been launched. Jet is still growing, but has failed to keep pace with the domestic market, which is expanding by up to 25% a year. “Market share is relative; you want to make money. And we have been making money every year but one,” says Goyal. Last month, the airline, which floated in India last year, pulled out of a $500m acquisition of rival Air Sahara that would have regained some of the lost share after investors responded negatively.
Goyal has also been forced to defend himself against repeated government inquiries into the source of his finances. Each investigation has failed to uncover anything untoward.
Goyal met his wife, Anita, after she joined the company in 1979 as a marketing analyst and rose to become the head of marketing and sales. They married nine years later. Why, I ask, did it take you so long to get around to marrying her? “I generally don’t make the decision in these things,” he says. Then he adds conspiratorially, “I didn’t want to disappoint my other friends”, displaying a sometimes ribald sense of humour and roaring like an elephant. The couple have a son, 16, and a daughter, 13. His son loves cricket and enjoyed a “good chat” with Australian international Shane Warne when he recently paid a visit, Goyal says.
Goyal is immensely hospitable. It’s rare that a journalist will get away without staying for lunch. He also has a beguiling line in flattery, polished, one suspects, over many years of dealing with bureaucrats in India. I must be, he tells me, one of the most highly regarded journalists in Britain, drawing an embarrassed cough and a quick change of subject. “That’s his style and it’s got him a long way and good luck to him,” Lord Marshall says.
At the end of 2004, international routes from India were liberalised. “We started our first flight [to Heathrow] on 23rd May 2005,” he says, in the deliberate manner of a history student who has memorised a key date. The first flight was between Mumbai and London, followed by Delhi-London. A second Mumbai flight is being added, as well as a flight from Amritsar in Punjab.
There are 1.4 million people of Indian heritage living in Britain and the Civil Aviation Authority reckons that 1.5 million people will fly from Britain to India this year, nearly three times the number five years ago.
“UK is a natural because of the Indians living here. We know the market. There is an automatic affinity,” Goyal says. “I would like to see in the next two, three years that we build eight, nine flights a day to the UK. We want to operate to Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and we are looking at Gatwick. We are looking at China, US. We plan to start Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt, you know, Rome, Milan.” Jet has already added routes to Colombo, Singapore, Kathmandu and Kuala Lumpur.
Many of the estimated 28 million Indians living overseas already know Jet Airways. But the company wants a wider audience and has hired design agency Landor Associates to work on the brand. “We don’t only want Indians,” Goyal says. “English, Europeans living here. Besides British, I think a lot of other nationalities enjoy living here, so a lot of Europeans, Australians, everybody who goes to India, wants to go to India, enjoys doing business with India. We want to be one of the best five airlines in the world. One of the best five.”
The whole perception of India is changing. Most people used to think we are just labourers, we are just immigrants, we are just poor people. I think if Indians are given the chance, they can be successful anywhere in the world
I think we both can complement each other. It will help both countries working together. It will help the people, it will help the world economy. There are lots of things that China does that India doesn’t. There are lots of things that India does that China doesn’t
Mr. Naresh Goyal serves as the Non Executive Chairman of Jet Airways (India) Private Limited. Mr. Goyal has been the Chairman of Jet Lite (India) Ltd., since 2007. Mr. Goyal is the Founder Chairman of Jet Airways, India’s premier domestic airline has over 4 decades experience in the Civil Aviation industry. Mr. Goyal joined the travel business with the GSA for Lebanese International Airlines. From 1967 to 1974, he underwent extensive training in all facets of the travel business through his association with several foreign airlines. He also travelled overseas extensively on business during this period. With the experience, expertise and technical know-how thus acquired, in May 1974, he founded Jetair (Private) Limited with the objective of providing Sales and Marketing representation to foreign airlines in India. He was involved in developing studies of traffic patterns, route structures, operational economics and flight scheduling, all of which has made him an authority in the world of aviation and travel. In 1991, as part of the ongoing diversification programme of his business activities, he took advantage of the opening of the Indian economy and the enunciation of the Open Skies Policy by the Government of India, to set up Jet Airways (India) Private Limited, for the operation of scheduled air services on domestic sectors in India. Mr. Goyal serves as a Member of the Board of Governors of The International Air Transport Association. He served on the Board of IATA from 2008 to 2009 and from 2004 to 2006. He is the recipient of several national and international awards which includes: On November 16, 2011, in a unique honour, Belgium conferred the “Commandeur of the Order of Leopold II”, one of the country’s highest civilian distinctions, to Mr. Goyal, for his meritorious service and efforts to foster business and cultural ties with Belgium. On August 6, 2010, Mr. Goyal received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI). Mr. Goyal Voted “International Entrepreneurs of the Year”. Mr. Goyal received the award from the Rt. Hon Geoff Hoon MP, UK Secretary of State for Transport, at the UK House of Commons in February 27, 2009. Mr. Goyal honoured at the fourth edition of the prestigious CNBC TV18 India Business Leader Awards, in the ‘Taking India Abroad’ award category, at the Taj Lands End, Mumbai on January 22, 2009. Mr. Goyal accorded the Business Person of the Year award by UK Trade & Investment at the prestigious India Business Awards 2008, in Mumbai on September 9, 2008. Mr. Goyal awarded the prestigious “Man of the Year Award” by the Aviation Press Club (APC) at its 30th Anniversary on Wednesday, April 09, 2008, in Belgium. The Aviation Press Club is an influential club of Belgian Aviation Journalists. Mr. Goyal conferred with the “Travel Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 19th annual TTG (Travel Trade Gazette) Travel Awards. The awards were presented at a glittering ceremony and gala dinner on Thursday October 25, 2007 at the Sofitel Centara Grand, Bangkok. r. Goyal accorded the prestigious TATA AIG – Lifetime Achievement Award at the Abacus-TAFI Awards ceremony organized during the TAFI (Travel Agents’ Federation of India) International Travel Convention 2007, on Saturday September 8, 2007 at the Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Mr. Goyal was presented with the first NDTV Profit Business Award 2006 by the honourable Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on behalf of Jet Airways, at a glittering function at Taj Palace Hotel on July 28, 2006. Mr. Goyal received the first BML Munjal Award for Excellence in Learning & Development in the Private Sector category. Mr. Goyal received the award from the Honourable Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Praful Patel along with a citation at a special function at Hotel Maurya Sheraton, New Delhi on January 6, 2006. Mr. Goyal featured by Business Week as one of the five leaders from India in the July 2005 Asia Edition cover story- “Stars of Asia – 25 Leaders at The Forefront of Change”. Mr. Goyal received Aerospace Laurels’ for outstanding contribution in the field of Commercial Air Transport twice, in April 2000 and February 2004. Mr. Goyal received First Lifetime Achievement Award from The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in December 2003. Mr. Goyal received ‘Outstanding Asian-Indian’ award for leadership and contribution to the global community given by the Indian American Centre for Political Awareness in November 2003. Mr. Goyal received ‘Distinguished Alumni Award-2000’ for meritorious and distinguished performance as an Entrepreneur’ in October 2000. Mr. Goyal received Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Services’ from Ernst & Young in September 2000. He graduated in Commerce in 1967.
India Leadership Conclave & Indian Affairs Business Leadership Awards organized by Network7 Media Group’s Indian Affairs is Asia’s most eagerly awaited leadership event where the platform has established a credible platform of serious discussion where Brand India’s most illustrious Leaders & icons assemble to discuss the roadmap for India’s growth trajectory. The last Four Annual Affairs at the India Leadership Conclave Platform, we have witnessed some of the biggest think-tanks of the contemporary leaders in society from social to political & from business to cultural has addressed, deliberated & opened up the new mantras of developments. The coveted & prestigious honour will be conferred to Mr Goyal on Friday,18th July 2014 at the Chancellor Suite of Hotel Hilton Mumbai International Airport.
Other Notable Names who will receive in the individual category are
Individual Jury Awards in Non-Voting Category
1.Social Enterprise of The Year 2014
2.Transformational Leader of the Decade
Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, CEO, Cognizant Technology Solutions
3. Millennium Business Leader of the Decade
Mr. Shiv Nadar, Founder Chairman, HCL Technologies Ltd.
4.Global Indian of The Year 2014
Mr.Shailendra Singh, Jt MD, Percept Ltd
5.Fashion Icon of The Year 2014
Ms.Babita Malkani, Fashion Designer
6. Healthcare Visionary of the Year
Dr.Shashank R Joshi, Consultant Endocrine ,Metabolic Physician & Diabetologist- Dr Joshi Clinic & Lilavati Hospital
7.India’s Most Promising Columnist & Luxury Brand Consultant
Ms. Nisha Jamvwal, Celebrity Columnist & Luxury Brand Strategist
8. Lifetime Achievement Award – Aviation
Mr. Naresh Goyal, CMD, Jet Airways Ltd.
9. India’s Most Promising Agri-Logistics Company 2014
Shree Shubham Logistics Limited
10.Medical Expert of the Decade
Dr.Ashwinikumar D. Kudari, Surgical Gastroenterologist, Sumati Hospital
11.India’s Most Promising Firm in Computer Education for Masses
Mr.Jesus S. M. Lall,Chairman & CEO.Universal Education
12.Thiruvananthapuram’s Most Promising Healthcare Centre in Diabetes Education and Treatment
Jothydev’s Diabetes and Research Center
13 India’s Most Promising Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine Specialist 2014
Dr Deepak Chaturvedi, Physician Endocrinologist,Diabetologist & Antiaging Speciliast
14.India’s Most Admired Cardiologist of the year 2014
Dr.B Somaraju, CMD, Care Hospitals Group
15.India’s Most Admired Diabetologist 2014
Dr.Gaurav Sharma, Diabetologist & Life Style Doctor, CMD, DrG Wellness (P) Ltd.
16.Enterpreneur of The Year 2014
Mr.Dilip Surana, CMD, Microlabs Ltd
17.India’s Most Promising Skin, Hair & Laser Enterprise 2014
18.India’s Most Promising Fashion Designer 2014
Ms.Komal Sood, Fashion Designer
19.India’s Most Respected Software Company in Corporate Governance 2014
Datamatics Global Services Limited
20.India’s Most Promising Healthcare Firm in Lifestyle & Wellness Programs
DrG Wellness (P) Ltd
21.Transformational Leader of the year 2014
Mr.Aditya Bafna,Executive Director,Shree Shubham Logistics Limited
22. India’s Most Promising Debutante Face in Indian Motion Picture Award 2014 – Pooja Sree