Akasa Air: Here Are Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's Co-Investors — Exclusive

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and his family entities own 45.97% of Akasa Air. Here are all the other investors.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed airline Akasa Air. Image used for representational purposes.&nbsp;</p></div>
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed airline Akasa Air. Image used for representational purposes. 

India's youngest airline, Akasa Air, is all set to take its maiden flight on Aug. 7 from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

The airline, with Rakesh Jhunjhunwala as the largest shareholder, will then start its operations on Aug. 13 on the Bengaluru-Kochi route. "With this, Akasa Air will have completed the inaugural phase of its network development across key cities like Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kochi and Bengaluru, making a total of 82 weekly flights available within the first few weeks of its operations," the airline had said in a statement.

But who owns Akasa Air?

The parent SNV Aviation Pvt. Ltd. was founded in 2020 by Vinay Dube and his family members Sanjay Dube and Niraj Dube. As the company planned to launch an airline, it raised nearly Rs 300 crore from investors in the last financial year.

The airline raised equity at Rs 51.38 apiece, valuing the company at Rs 582 crore.

Vinay Dube and his family members fully owned the company initially. Post at least two rounds of fundraising, the family's shareholding fell to 31.31% as of January 2022, according to documents filed with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and reviewed by BQ Prime.

Jhunjhunwala was part of the initial round of fundraising along with foreign investors including Madhav Bhatkuly, Ninan Chacho, and Kartik Varma. PAR Capital Ventures LLC, PCV Partners Fund LLC are among the foreign funds that own a stake in the airline.

Jhunjhunwala subsequently increased stake in the company. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala now holds 4.30%, and his wife Rekha Jhunjhunwala owns 9.60%.

Their three family trusts Aryavir Jhunjhunwala Discretionary Trust, Nishtha Jhunjhunwala Discretionary Trust, and Aryaman Jhunjhunwala Discretionary Trust hold 10.69% each in the airline.

In all, Jhunjhunwala and his family entities own 45.97% of Akasa Air.

Other domestic investors include:

  • Madhusudan Kela, a capital market veteran

  • Bergis Desai, corporate lawyer

  • Utpal Sheth, CEO of Jhunjhunwala's Rare Enterprises Pvt.

  • Ushma Sheth Sule, sister of Utpal Sheth

  • Amit Goela, director of Rare Equity Pvt

  • Madhav Bhatkuly, capital market veteran

  • Anand Srinivasan, co-founder & chief information officer

  • Praveen Iyer, co-founder & chief commercial officer, Akasa Air

  • Bhavin Joshi, co-founder, chief marketing & experience officer

  • Neelu Khatri, co-founder and senior vice president-corporate affairs, Akasa Air.

In addition, Aditya Ghosh, a director on the board of the company, has been granted 30.38 lakh employee stock options under the SNV Aviation Employee Stock Option Plan, 2021. These options will vest in three tranches over the next four years starting completion of the second year, said its MCA disclosures.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Akasa Air leadership team (Source: Akasa Air website)</p></div>

Akasa Air leadership team (Source: Akasa Air website)

In September last year, Akasa Air raised its authorised capital from Rs 50 crore to Rs 113.50 crore to facilitate fund infusion from investors. The current paid-up capital stands at Rs 113.3 crore.

The airline, which took delivery of its first Boeing Co. 737 Max jet in June, intends to start operations with two aircraft. Akasa Air will add 18 jets by the end of the year ending March 2023 and then induct 12 to 14 aircraft every year, bringing its fleet to a total of 72 planes over five years, according to a company statement.