Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath


Name Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath

Education Graduate of the National Defence Academy

Occupation Founder and CEO at Deccan Aviation and Air Deccan

Founded 25 August 2003

Industry Aviation

Headquarters Mumbai, India

Famous for

Pioneer of India's low-cost airline Air Decca. Ex-army officer turned farmer then entrepreneur, in 1997, along with another colleague from the army, founded Deccan Aviation - India's largest Private Helicopter Charter Company. In 2003 he became the pioneer in launching India's first low-cost carrier Air Deccan - the common man's airline.

It was the largest airline in terms of its reach/network, the number of passengers flown and it's fleet size. The only company, which overtook Indian Airlines and gained the 2nd largest market share.

A former army officer and an award winning Seri culturist, Capt G.R Gopinath, made his foray in the aviation sector way back in 1995; at a time when domestic aviation was monopolized by a handful of Full Service Airlines (FSA) and strict government regulations were the norm. He identified the potential which the helicopter charter business had in India.

Combining his entrepreneurial skills and vision with the technical skills of his ex-army friends, he launched ‘Deccan Aviation’ – a dedicated, customer focused heli-charter Company. Today, Deccan Aviation, headquartered in Bangalore has 11 helicopters and 2 small aircraft and operates out of nine major cities and locations, spanning the entire length and breadth of India. The company is India’s largest and most reputed private air charter company including Sri Lanka.

Early life & Education

Captain G. R. Gopinath, Founder and CEO at Deccan Aviation and Air Deccan is a graduate of the National Defence Academy and has served the Indian Army. He is considered the father of low cost air travel in India. He created a whole new market when he launched India`s first low cost airline, Air Deccan.

Capt G R Gopinath or Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath or `Gopi` as he is affectionately called was born in a Hassan Iyengar family of the remote village of Gorur, Karnataka. Starting his studies in a village school, he completed his further schooling at Sainik (military) School, Bijapur. Thereafter he joined the distinguished National Defence Academy and later graduated from the Indian Military Academy as a commissioned officer in the Indian Army. He then went on to serve the Army for eight years.

Sometime in 1995, the Govt. of India started the reforms process by encouraging entrepreneurship. This inspired the entrepreneur in him to identify the tremendous potential Helicopter Charter had in India. Along with an old Army friend he decided to start a private sector commercial helicopter service in 1996. Starting with just one helicopter, today Deccan Aviation boasts of 10 (Ten) Helicopters and two charter jets operating from eight major locations criss-crossing the entire length of the country. This company is India’s most reputed private Air Charter Company with a presence now in Srilanka also.

Never Give Up!

For six years Captain Gopinath slept under a thatched roof and tried to make living by growing bananas, cereals, coconuts, and vegetables in the government provided land when his ancestoral land was eaten up by a dam. It was in 1985 that he switched to silkworm rearing. And he had to wait for four more years to see some success. Yes, that's ten long years of toil, and it didn't end with farming.

When he launched Deccan Aviation, it took Captain Gopinath four years to get one helicopter on lease. At every step he faced new bundle of challenges whether they emanated from government controls, competition, or something else. His first Air Deccan flight caught fire and everyone wrote his company off. But he says that he's been an optimist who always refused to give up. He faced all challenges head on, to give India Air Deccan that boasts about fastest aircraft turnaround time, cost efficiency, wide connectivity, and ticketing access.

Pursue Your Passion

Captain Gopinath stresses that one should pursue his passion and never let fear of failing come in the way. The problems will come and failures are unavoidable but having single minded focus, determination, and ability to assimilate failures is the only way forward, he believes. From army, farming and deals, to aviation, Gopinath has had one dream that is to make a difference and in spite of all odds he continues to pursue that.

Have a Vision

Vision keeps you inspired and focused. Captain Gopinath points out that the most important inspiration comes from one's own vision. One doesn't need inspiration from outside, it has to come from within. Without a clear vision and resolute focus one can easily lose the steam.

Trust Your Instinct

Some believe in tried out management mantras and well laid out strategies. Captain Gopinath reveals that he does not follow cut-out management formulas instead he trusts his own instincts, does his own research, and makes his own judgments. He's another example that one doesn't need to have degrees from premier institutes or high tech training to strike it big as an entrepreneur.

Innovate, Innovate, Innovate

Until Captain Gopinath started using radically different farming techniques than what other farmers were commonly using, his farming venture wasn't taking off. Innovation took his farming to a new level. He even got prestigious Rolex award for adopting organic farming techniques. The man continues to grow new ideas, in the new horizons. He's all set to launch his next venture, Deccan Cargo

Captain Gopinath's Success Mantras

Success hasn't been an easy sail for any successful person you speak to. Captain Gorur R Iyengar Gopinath, Chairman and Managing Director, Air Deccan didn't have a smooth flight either. A graduate from National Defense Academy, Captain Gopinath served in Indian Army for 8 years. He left army in 1979 when he was 27 years old and ventured into farming. After tasting success as a Seri culturist he moved on to launch his Deccan Aviation, a heli-charter firm. The man gave India the lowest fare airlines, Air Deccan. Recently, he sold his Deccan Aviation to Kingfisher and now launching yet another venture Deccan Cargo. He doesn't believe that there is any set rule for success but reveals some mantras that has worked for him

Success hungry individuals will always find their way if they don't quit.

Awards & honors

Rolex International Award for Enterprise - 1996,
Entrepreneur of the year-National Academy of Management,Entrepreneurship - 2004,
Indomitable spirit of enterprise & outstanding achievements-Ernst & Young India - 2004
Centennial Excellence Award-Rotary International - 2004,
Best Entrepreneur of the year-Hutti Gold Mines - People's skill foundation - 2005,
Personality of the decade-K.G Foundation, Coimbatore - 2005
Business Leader Award-World HRD Congress - 2005,
Startup entrepreneur of the year-NITIE - Entrepreneurship Excellence Awards - 2005
Emerging achiever of India-Rotary Club of Bombay - 2005
Galileo Editor's choice award-Express Travel & Tourism - 2004-2005,
Chevalier Legion d'honneur-The French Republic - 2006
Sir M Visvesvaraya Memorial Award-FKCCI - 2006
Laureate Award for contribution in the “commercial air transport segment” - Aviation Week - 2007,
Frost & Sullivan award for the ‘CEO of the Year’- Frost & Sullivan - 2007
India’s Best Domestic Low Cost CarrierGalileo Express TravelWorld Award - 2006 & 2007


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