When you dare to dream big, you join the ranks of frequent travelers. Kanika Tekriwal’s actual story illustrates this point like nothing else. Nine years ago, a 24-year-old girl, Kanika, who had just survived cancer, ventured into the Indian aviation industry without owning a single plane.
His plan was to create a charter aircraft business using an aggregator model like Ola and Uber.
|Kanika Tekriwal launched Jetsetgo as an aircraft aggregator in 2012 (Photos: Special arrangement)|
“I invested Rs 5600 and created an application to book charter flights. During the first two years, I got customer advances and supplier credits to run the business, ”says Kanika, founder of Delhi-based Jetsetgo Aviation Services Private Limited.
“I also offered advice and advised people on purchasing aircraft according to their needs. In 2014 Sudheer Perla, chartered accountant and management graduate from Oxford joined the company as a co-founder.
Today, Jetsetgo has grown into a Rs 150 crore turnover company with around 200 employees and offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad. Last year, the company bought its own fleet of eight planes.
“In 2020-21, we processed 1 lakh of leaflets and operated 6,000 flights. Our clients are mainly businesses, celebrities, politicians and important people. We offer a range of charter flights, from a six-seater to an 18-seater plane, ”explains Kanika.
“Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Bengaluru and Hyderabad-Delhi are our most visited areas. About five percent of our flights are used for medical emergencies. ”
The company has grown despite the overall negative impact of the pandemic on the economy. “We did not lay off or cut wages during the COVID lockdown. As we do not share our profits (with our employees), we do not have the right to reduce their salary, ”she explains.
|Kanika survived cancer and rebounded by throwing Jetsetgo|
Kanika’s concern for her employees was evident when she had to take a break from her interview to deal with an employee who had fallen from a plane. She personally took charge of the situation and only returned after making sure the employee received the required medical attention.
Jetsetgo is seeking a leading edge in nascent urban air mobility with its eVTOL (Electric Vertical Takeoff) aircraft service. EVTOL aircraft are capable of vertical takeoff and landing and are expected to play an important role in urban mobility in the near future.
“It will be a shuttle service between two points in a city. We recently launched this service in Mumbai and the charges will be as cheap as an Uber ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 2500 depending on the distance, ”explains Kanika.
“A helicopter is used for this service. We are testing the feasibility and pushing it because we believe that air taxis will become the norm in the future. ”
Kanika has fought many battles to achieve the position she currently holds. She was born into a Marwari business family in Bhopal. The family owned Maruti dealers across the country.
After the division of the family business, Kanika’s father, Anil Tekriwal, started a real estate business. Her mother Sunita is a housewife and she has a younger brother, Kanishk.
|Jetsetgo bought eight planes last year|
Kanika was admitted to Lawrence School, Lovedale, Ooty, in grade four when she was only seven years old. It was a boarding school and she was the youngest child in the class.
“I got a double promotion so I was the youngest in the class. I felt all alone, on my own. When I got home, a maid would take care of all my needs, ”Kanika said of her days at Ooty boarding school, a hill station in Tamil Nadu, about 1,700 km from her hometown.
“I never really liked being in boarding school, but I knew my parents would think the best for me.”
After Class 10, she returned to Bhopal and completed her Class 12 in Commerce at Jawaharlal Nehru School in 2005. She then went to Mumbai to continue her studies in Visual Communication and Design at BD Somani Institute (2005- 08).
“Mumbai was easy because hostel life had prepared me for the worst. Dad gave me little pocket money because he thought if I had too much money I would start drinking, smoking and taking drugs, ”she laughs.
“I became my own person in Mumbai and learned to board a bus for the first time in my life because until then I was used to the drivers driving me. I have become an intelligent street person and more human.
She also took a part-time job. “When I was 17, I hosted a Disney event and received a payment of 300 rupees. It seemed like a lot of money at the time, because my pocket money was pretty low, ”she says.
“I gave this money to my mom, because the event organizers gave me Disney gifts that I loved and that was more precious to me than the money.”
|Jetsetgo employs approximately 200 people, including pilots and crew|
During her studies, she also worked in the design department of the real estate division of India Bulls. She was then transferred to the aviation section of the company, where she had the opportunity to meet many people from the aviation industry.
“I bought three planes and a helicopter for the company. I looked at all aspects of the deal, whether it was finding the right plane to buy, figuring out the technical details of the deal, or negotiating the final prices, ”Kanika recalls of her experience in the company that gave him a first glimpse of the aeronautical activity.
When she graduated in 2008, her parents told her that she could either continue her education after graduation or get married.
“It happened in December and in January 2009 I joined Coventry University, UK for a one-year MBA program,” she says. “I feel like my parents always steered me in the right direction, even though sometimes their decisions seemed tough at the time.”
In the UK, she continued her relationship with the aviation industry and found a job with Aerospace Resources, while simultaneously pursuing her MBA.
“I learned how things work in an international aviation company. I feel like I over-delivered here, because I put in more hours, just so I could do the best job, ”she says.
“I outperformed because being Indian there was always this insecurity and feeling of inferiority. Everything I know about aviation I owe to this place. And it is in this company that the idea of Jetsetgo was born.
|Kanika believes air taxis will be a major market in the near future|
“I went to college just to take the exams, because the teachers there understand that you are your own responsibility. Surprisingly, I have always scored well.
She stayed in the UK after completing her MBA. In 2011, however, a great shock awaited her when she found out she had cancer. At that time, she was only 23 years old.
“I came home straight away because I wanted to be with my parents,” she says. “They supported me a lot, played me nurses and made me their priority and it was thanks to them that I survived.”
“Once I decided to fight, I started reading motivational books from Lance Armstrong, a professional cyclist who battled testicular cancer and was back on track.
“His words really motivated me and moved me forward. I had 12 chemotherapy sessions and a year of radiation therapy and I got well.
Shortly after her recovery, she started Jetsetgo. “In the future, we will continue to rent planes and buy planes, as we have to build the infrastructure of the company,” she said, sharing her intention to be part of the exciting air taxi journey. which should invade the cities. in the near future.