Born In: Gorur, Karnataka
Known As: Entrepreneur
Coming from a modest background, Captain Gopinath is a multi-faceted personality. He comfortably shifted into different guises: an Army Officer, India's leading business man, an independent political candidate, an eco- friendly farmer and a well known author. With so much diversity to his personality it is no doubt that he is one of the most interesting and distinguished persons that one can come cross. Despite his many roles he is well known as a pioneer of low-cost airlines, a venture capitalist who revolutionized the face of Indian aviation in the country. His book "Simply Fly" sheds light on the remarkable journey of turning his ambitious vision into a successful business story. Unlike other entrepreneurs Captain Gopinath's attempts to inspire young business men in the country have been successful. His phenomenal success in such a short span of time has been rewarded by many well known and prestigious institutions. Read on to know more about his life and career.
Captain Gopinath hails from a small town known as Gorur located in the Hassan district in Karnataka state. He finished his early schooling at the Sainik Military School that was situated in Bijapur before he joined the famed National Defence Academy and then passed out from the Indian Military Academy. Once he was done with his graduation he was appointed as an Officer of the Indian Army.
Once he joined the Army, Captain Gopinath served for eight years before he retired from the 'Armed Forces'. Thereafter he became interested in farming and later started a hotel in Hassan. It was not until the year 1995 when the government took measures to improve the aviation sector in India, several rules where relaxed in order to encourage entrepreneurs to invest and explore air transportation. The reforms initiated by the management did see positive results as many new players started to show a keen interest in this sector, Captain Gopinath was also one among them. It was him and a close friend from the armed services who came together with the idea to start a private commercial helicopter service known as Deccan Aviation. In 1997, the service became operational, while Bangalore became its headquarters. The helicopter service extended to cities like Ahmedabad, Cochin, Delhi, Indore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Jamshedpur and Coochbehar. This aviation company began with just a single helicopter, but currently boasts of a fleet that commutes across several destinations in the country. In 2003, Captain Gopinath began his first air-craft service known as Air Deccan, this air service was a low-cost brand, the main aim was to fulfill the comman man's dream to fly. Air Deccan was one of the first low-cost services in India and was an instant success but due to the excessive competiton from other similar airline carriers, Air Deccan soon started to lose out to the competition. The company's overwhelming growth also saw the entry of several other low cost airbuses such as Indigo Airlines, Go Air, Spice Jet and Jet Lite. In 2007, Captain Gopinath was left with no other altenative but to consolidate with the Kingfisher Airlines, the merger earned him substanial profits. Currently Air Deccan is known as Kingfisher Red with Vijay Mallya being the CEO and Chairman. Meanwhile, the helicopter services exteneted to Sri Lanka in 2004 promoting itself as a major private charter services. The year 2009 saw Captain Gopinath get into the role of a politician when he stood as an independent candidate in the Lok Sabha elections, but failed to gather sufficent support from the general public. On the business front he was also responsible for starting operations for a new freight flight known as Deccan 360.
Awards and Achievements
Captain Gopinath has been an important face of India aviation; his business ideologies transformed the airline sector into a thriving and profitable sector. Today, a airline is no more restricted to just an elite group of people but has become a affordable and feasible transportation means in the country. Captain Gopinath's contributions has won him several accolades, some of them have been the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Rajyotsava Award, Chevalier de la legion d'Honneur, Personality of the Decade Award and Sir M Visvesvaraya Memorial Award.
1997: He started Deccan Aviation operations.
2003: He commenced Air Deccan operations.
2004: Deccan Aviation extended to Sri Lanka.
2007: Air Deccan merged with Kingfisher Airlines.
2009: He commenced Deccan 360 and ran for the Lok Sabha elections.