SpiceJet’s chairman and managing director, Ajay Singh, who founded the airline in 2005, has scripted one of the most remarkable turnaround stories in recent times. Singh emerged as a white knight giving the airline a new lease of life after the turbulent times that the airline encountered starting December 2014.
A first generation entrepreneur, he is regarded as the face of the Indian aviation industry. Singh, who coined BJP’s hugely popular 2014 campaign slogan “Aabki baar Modi sarkar”, has a knack of turning around ailing businesses whether it was a grounded ModiLuft that he renamed and launched as SpiceJet or advising the government on revamping the loss-making Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). He has time and again proved himself to be a “turnaround specialist”.
In 1996, Singh was asked to serve on the board of DTC and prepare a plan to revamp the ailing organisation, which had just a few hundred buses at the time. In the two and a half years that he spent at DTC, the corporation’s fleet rose from 300 to about 6,000.
As an officer on special duty (OSD) to the information and broadcasting minister, Singh revamped the national broadcaster Doordarshan and played a key role in the launch of DD Sports and DD News. Later, as OSD in the telecom and IT ministry, Singh helped draft the National Telecom Policy and the Information Technology Act. He was recently elected as the President of the Boxing Federation of India.
Under Singh, SpiceJet has not only outperformed the industry in operational parameters but has also received several global accolades. “Some of the awards we have won are the World Travel Leaders Award at WTM London, Best Check-in Initiative award by Future Travel Experience global awards in Las Vegas, Best Employee Engagement amongst 104 corporate entries at the 4th DMA, Best Transportation brand as well as the Best Airline Brand in India by Brand Trust Report,” he says.
He is an alumnus of Delhi’s St. Columba’s school and was awarded the Sword of Honour, the school’s highest award, presented to students who excel in academics as well as sports and extra-curricular activities. Singh holds a degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, an MBA from Cornell University and an LLB from the Law Faculty, University of Delhi.