Sunday, May 16, 2010

A businessman for the other India

A few years ago, at a Chennai Rotary event awarding Captain G R Gopinath’s achievements, an elderly gentleman tasked with felicitating the aviation entrepreneur, used the opportunity to make a few suggestions. “I know Air Deccan is nofrills, but could you at least offer passengers complimentary water on board?” Last week, even though Air Deccan no longer exists, the Chennai audience at Gopinath’s book signing, still had much to ask: “Can you not bring Air Deccan back?”, “Can't you do anything about the fuel surcharges?”, and so on.

Ask Gopinath about it and he laughs. “Well it shows strong ownership by the customers. All of them don't think I should have sold out,” he says later, before lapsing back into what one may consider his “quotable quotes” mode. “I wanted to fulfil a need, open a new market. Air Deccan was something inherently good for the economy. It touched the lives of millions. It was the people‘s airline.”

But how does one respond to the disappointment that people seem to have no qualms about expressing their complaints to him directly. “It touches me and again I start thinking, my blood starts rushing...”

Full report here New Indian Express

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