Ajay Singh, who co-founded SpiceJet in 2005, has agreed to buy out Kalanithi Maran’s stake in the ailing airline after negotiations spanning several months. When Singh quit the SpiceJet board in August 2010, the airline was at its peak having around Rs 800 crore cash. And, now when he is making a comeback, the airline is in financial mess having posted record losses. Singh, however, is optimistic of turning around the budget carrier. Singh spoke to HT on the challenges ahead. Excerpts:
How long will it take to complete the deal?
A scheme of revival has been submitted by SpiceJet to the competent authority, which is the ministry of civil aviation in this case. The transaction is subject to their approval as it involves change of control of management and promoter.
What are your views about the airline?
I feel SpiceJet’s demise is in nobody’s interest. It hurts the consumers because fares go up, it hurts the employees of SpiceJet and it hurts the investment climate both in the aviation sector and the larger economy. At this time when there is a new government trying to encourage investment into India, it would be a very bad signal.
Are you confident of turning around the airline?
I think this a task worth doing. It’s a very tough job (turning around SpiceJet) but it’s worth doing as much for personal gain as for public gain. I am getting a lot of support from everybody and I will do my best. I will my put all my energy behind it and try and make sure that this thing succeeds and the airline doesn’t go down.