FIRST & EXCLUSIVE

A new private charter carrier unveiled

Former SpiceJet COO unveiled Sirius India Airlines in partnership with Dubai-based Transworld Group to meet the needs of the luxury travel market in India

April 22, 2024 By Ayushee Chaudhary Photo(s): By TransworldTweet / X
TO INTRODUCE PREMIUM PRIVATE CHARTER SERVICES, SIRIUS INDIA AIRLINES HAS PARTNERED WITH AIRAVAT AVIATION, A LUXURY AIR TRAVEL BRAND

The Indian aviation market has a new entry in the business aviation segment. Arun Kashyap, formerly associated with SpiceJet, has unveiled Sirius India Airlines, a bespoke private charter carrier designed to meet the needs of the luxury travel market in India. This momentous entry into the country's aviation sector sees Sirius India Airlines partnering with the esteemed Dubai-based Transworld Group to introduce premium private air travel charter services. Arun Kashyap, the carrier's promoter-director and former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of SpiceJet, brings a wealth of industry expertise and leadership to this prestigious endeavor.

Arun Kashyap, formerly associated with SpiceJet, has unveiled Sirius India Airlines, a bespoke private charter carrier designed to meet the needs of the luxury travel market in India

Airavat Aviation, a luxury air travel brand owned by the Dubai-based Transworld Group, entered the private air travel space in 2023 and has a distinguished presence across the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The launch of Sirius India Airlines represents a significant step forward in redefining upscale travel experiences, catering to discerning passengers seeking luxury and convenience in air travel. Expressing enthusiasm for this venture, Chairman of Transworld Group, Ramesh S. Ramakrishnan, remarked, "We are delighted to introduce Airavat to the Indian market." In a statement, Arun Kashyap expressed his enthusiasm for the milestone achieved by Sirius India Airlines as it embarks on a transformative journey in the Indian aviation sector. Formerly serving as the COO at SpiceJet until early March, Kashyap disclosed his plans to venture into the air charter business, marking a strategic departure from his previous role in the commercial airline sector.

Sirius India Airlines is partnering with the esteemed Dubai-based Transworld Group to introduce premium private air travel charter services

In collaboration with Airavat Aviation, Sirius India Airlines is set to initiate its operations utilising a state-of-the-art Hawker 4000 aircraft. This strategic partnership aims to expand the fleet to three aircraft in the near future, marking a significant milestone in the company's growth trajectory. The move is intended to enhance the carrier's operational capacity and extend its reach within the industry. Looking ahead, Sirius India Airlines has outlined ambitious growth objectives, with projections to scale up to three jets by the end of 2024 and eventually reaching a fleet size of a dozen aircraft by the close of 2025. This expansion strategy underscores the carrier's commitment to catering to various travel preferences and requirements. In addition to its focus on fleet expansion, the carrier is strategically positioned to provide comprehensive solutions in the charter business and fractional ownership segment, both domestically and globally. This initiative reflects the company's unwavering dedication to meeting diverse customer needs while upholding the highest standards of service and comfort.

DISCERNING TRAVELERS CAN NOW EXPERIENCE OPULENT PRIVATE AIR TRAVEL AND BESPOKE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES

The launch of Sirius India Airlines promises enhanced accessibility and luxury in the realm of private air travel. With Arun Kashyap's leadership and the strategic collaboration with Airavat Aviation, the airline is poised to make significant strides in the burgeoning charter market. Speaking about the launch and future plans of Sirius India Airlines, Arun Kashyap expressed optimism and excitement about the opportunities ahead. He emphasised the airline's commitment to delivering exceptional service, luxury, and convenience to its esteemed clientele, setting a new benchmark for private charter travel in India and beyond.

Sirius India Airlines has outlined ambitious growth objectives, with projections to scale up to three jets by the end of 2024 and eventually reaching a fleet size of a dozen aircraft by the close of 2025

The joint venture aims to offer a seamless experience in the charter business and fractional ownership sector, catering to the unique requirements of clients in India and beyond, the company stated in a press release. With its visionary leadership, strategic partnerships, and commitment to excellence, Sirius India Airlines is aiming to redefine the standards of luxury charter aviation. The Indian business aviation sector is already in line to embrace fractional ownership as a means of sharing investment advantages. However, the lack of regulatory clarity poses a significant hurdle to realising this potential for which the Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) is actively engaged in advocating for clear regulations.

The landscape of business aviation has undergone a notable global transformation, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, and the Indian Business Aviation sector has not been exempted from these changes

The landscape of business aviation has undergone a notable global transformation, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, and the Indian Business Aviation sector has not been exempt from these changes. Over the past decade, the industry in India has experienced significant evolution, receiving the recognition it deserves. Its role as a catalyst for productivity and a contributor to economic development has become increasingly evident and the entry of airlines like Sirius signals optimistic growth prospects for the industry as well as the airline.

 

‘India's charter segment is under-served’ — Arun Kashyap

An Unserved private charter segment propels MRO veteran Arun Kashyap to start off on his own new venture Sirius India Airlines by partnering with a UAE-based conglomerate Airavat Aviation.

ARUN KASHYAP, PROMOTER AND CEO,
SIRIUS INDIA AIRLINES

The Q&A below is an attempt to give a brief glimpse into the life of Arun Kashyap, the reasons behind the major switch from MRO to charters and his reasons for diving into the interesting world of business aviation. Speaking to Swaati Ketkar for SP’s Aviation in an exclusive interview, Arun Kashyap tells us about his plans for the new venture, his thoughts on fractional ownership and the post-pandemic luxury and business aviation segment in India. Read on...

Swaati Ketkar (Swaati): First of all, congratulations on the launch of a new charter company, Sirius India Airlines. What attracted you to the charter segment of aviation?

Arun Kashyap (Arun): Thanks for your wishes! The charter segment of aviation offers unique opportunities for personalised, flexible travel experiences. And most importantly the sector is under-served; and which was a key factor in our decision to launch Sirius India Airlines in this segment.

Swaati: The switch from MRO to Charter came as a surprise to many. Can you tell our readers your thoughts behind this switch?

Arun: While I may not have a lot of specifics to share right now, it’s crucial to understand that we have not stopped our MRO business. In reality, our MRO services complement and bolster our Charter business.

THIS PARTNERSHIP MARKS A NEW CHAPTER IN OPULENT PRIVATE AIR TRAVEL FOR INDIA

Swaati: Which are the routes you are planning to explore initially i.e at the launch phase of operations?

Arun: As a charter business, we don’t have fixed route planning. We’re prepared to cater to client demands anywhere in India primarily. With our partners, Airawat, (a Transworld Group company), having the capacity for international charter travels, we’re certainly looking to explore that market as well.

Swaati: You initially plan to start operations with a Hawker 4000 aircraft and with plans to add another three aircraft this financial year. What is your aircraft of choice for fleet expansion and why?

Arun: Initially, our operations will be solely with the Hawker 4000 aircraft. Our plan is to incorporate two additional aircraft between September and February this year. Introducing another class or make of aircraft could potentially raise operational and maintenance costs. We are also evaluating other aircraft types in all segments to cater our future growth.

Swaati: Your thoughts on fractional ownership in private charter. How will it give a much-needed boost to the segment?

Arun: Fractional ownership in private charter is a promising avenue that can revolutionise the segment. It allows individuals and businesses to enjoy the benefits of private air travel without the burdens of full ownership. This model can significantly boost accessibility and affordability in the private charter sector and will enhance the demand of business jet in country.

Swaati: Will you consider operating under RCS-UDAN routes? How relevant do you find the RCS-UDAN to BA and GA industry in India?

Arun: We are not considering operating under RCS-UDAN routes in this segment of business. The RCS-UDAN scheme is not so relevant to Business Aviation in India. For fostering growth and accessibility, RCS is more relevant in commercial aviation with different type of aircraft fleet. We don’t fall into the same with Business Jet.

Swaati: Luxury and business charter segment is on a roll in India, especially post-pandemic. Your views?

Arun: The luxury and business charter segment in India has seen significant growth, especially post-pandemic. This trend reflects the increasing demand for personalised, safe, and efficient travel options. We are excited to contribute to this thriving market and provide unparalleled service to our clients. However, the private charter segment in India is underserved and holds immense potential for growth. While competition is increasing, there is still ample room for new players to enter the market and offer innovative services. Positives include a growing affluent class, increasing business travel needs, and a desire for exclusive travel experiences. However, challenges such as infrastructure development and regulatory complexities need to be addressed, with collaboration between industry and authorities.

Swaati: Any words of advice to potential investors planning to venture into private charter market in India?

Arun: As a new business entity in this sector, speaking from that limited experience wouldn’t be appropriate. However, drawing from our extensive years in this industry, we have some advice for new entrants. To potential investors eyeing the private charter market in India, I would suggest thorough market research and a strong emphasis on customer-centric services. Understanding the diverse needs of travellers and delivering customised, high-quality experiences will be pivotal for success. Furthermore, staying updated on regulatory shifts, Operational challenges and investing in infrastructure will be essential for sustainable growth in this dynamic sector.

Arun Kashyap - A Brief Introduction

Arun Kashyap, Promoter and CEO of Sirius India Airlines, is an aviation veteran with a Master’s in Air Transport Management from City University, London, boasting over 25 years of global experience. He’s held key roles at Jet Airways, Oman Air, Flydubai, Air India, and SpiceJet where he spearheaded major initiatives.

Kashyap got his first commercial break with Jet Airways as Duty Officer in 1999. After spending a decade in Jet Airways fulfilling various operational roles like Shift In charge, Aircraft Maintenance, Modification, Defect Rectification and Analysis, AOG recovery, Instructor and Avionics Licence, he joined flydubai in 2009 as maintenance controller and within the next three years he quickly jumped ranks to become manager of maintenance control. After this there was no looking back. Post flydubai Arun Kashyap got a break with SpiceJet as General Manager- Fleet Management and quickly rose to the ranks of Executive VP- Engineering & Head of Allied Aviation Business and later as Chief program & Transformation officer with SpiceJet.

Post SpiceJet came a turning point in Arun Kashyap’s career as he got his big break with Air India, as the airline was undergoing major transformation under Tata belt, Arun Kashyap was a part of the team that placed historic order of 470 aircraft. After spending a year at Air India and being a part of the revolutionary journey of the airline, Kashyap had his home-coming with SpiceJet, this time as the Chief Operations Officer.

Kashyap has managed annual budgets exceeding $1 billion for 100+ aircraft fleet, leading strategic acquisitions and contract negotiations. A seasoned CXO leader, he’s driven cost reduction, restructuring, and technology integration, pivotal in SpiceJet’s turnaround in 2014 and navigating the COVID crisis. Arun’s diverse expertise includes establishing MRO facilities, training setups, seaplane operations, air ambulance services, Cargo Airline set up and COVID testing centers.

Arun Kashyap attributes his success to SpiceJet MD Ajay Singh for bringing out the best in him and for giving his valuable mentorship throughout his career.