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Own a jet, win over time

india Updated: Dec 07, 2007 23:16 IST
Lalatendu Mishra
Lalatendu Mishra
Hindustan Times
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Indiabulls may just be a seven-year-old company, but its chairman and co-founder Samir Gehlaut (37) flies a business jet. Three months ago, Indiabulls Real Estate bought a brand new Challenger 605 jet for its key executives to save time while visiting project sites across India.

As the economy grows at a galloping pace of 9 per cent, India’s new breed of billionaires like Gehlaut are trotting the globe in business jets to grab the rising opportunities. Several emerging companies, whose market capitalisation have soared after stock markets scaled new peaks, are investing between Rs 80 crore and Rs 150 crore to acquire business jets.

While Indiabulls has invested Rs 120 crore to purchase a business jet for the top management, Hubli-based Vijay Road Lines, CMD, Vijay Sankeswar, has purchased four aircraft. Hyderabad-based GMR has bought two new business jets recently. Companies like DLF and Religare have also been buying aircraft for their top brass.

CEOs and top executives prefer to travel by business jets to save time. “Private jets are a huge-time saving facility. They serve as extremely important business tools. They help to make a quick visit to places where scheduled air carriers don’t fly. I use it quite frequently as it offers me a great deal of flexibility,” said Raymond CMD Gautam Singhania who owns a Challenger 604 jet and two helicopters. These small jets fly almost at the same speed like scheduled airlines do, cruising 870 km per hour and cover a range of 7,491 km.

According to research by business jet manufacturers, anybody who flies 500 hours in a business jet saves one month in a year. Many industrialists fly a minimum of 1,000 hours that makes it two extra months. This implies that a business jet owner manages to stretch his year to 14 months.

Vijay Mallya logs more than 2,000 hours a year while crisscrossing the globe in his personalised A-319 corporate jet. While the emerging heroes of India Inc are busy moving around in business jets, the Tatas and the Ambanis, who have had business jets for a number of years, are also purchasing new aircraft.

Last week, Anil Ambani got home a new Bombardier Global 500 business jet for $45 million (Rs 180 crore), while brother Mukesh already owns a fleet of business jets, including the brand new A-319 personalised aircraft, a Gulfstream and a Bell aircraft.

Inputs from Saurabh Turakhia