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Defying cancer, 34-yr-old Kanika Tekriwal operates pvt aircraft service

Born in a Marwari family in Bhopal, Kanika Tekriwal, who after defying cancer established Indias first ever marketplace for private jets and helicopter charters. In the span of the last few years, her aviation firm 'JetSetGo has come to own 10 private jets.

Last week, she put another feather in her cap by importing an aircraft from Dubai, which landed at Nagpur airport in Maharashtra. Tekriwal was featured in 'Forbes' magazine's list of '30 under 30' achievers of Asia in 2016.

An alumni of Jawaharlal Nehru School located on the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) campus in Bhopal, Kanika married a Hyderabad businessman this year. She shared her efforts, obstacles and achievements in an interview with IANS.


Q: To start with, tell us about your memories about Bhopal, the city where you were born and grew up and being from a stereotypical Marwari family, what kind of hurdles did you face?

A: Bhopal is a beautiful city, which will remain close to my heart forever. Whenever I visit Bhopal, I feel like healing, but I have to run for my dream. Second, when you belong to a typical Marwari family, you know that entrepreneurship is in your blood.

I always knew, from a very young age, that I would be running a business of my own at some point in my life. Though my parents were all prepared to pack me off into a 'nice Marwari family,' which would have put paid to my chances of doing business, they have been incredibly supportive since JetSetGo was founded.

Q: How has the journey proceeded since the beginning of your studies? Did you face questions about what to do or not?

A: After completing my schooling from Jawaharlal Nehru School in Bhopal, I did my bachelors (BA in Economics) from Mumbai University and then completed MBA in Finance from Coventry University.

Of course, being sent off to boarding school wasn't my decision, but it definitely helped me build character and gain a new perspective on life. It taught me the importance of grit - and in many ways, survival. I was passionate about and deep into my career by the time I had begun university.

Q: You got educated and worked abroad, was it all planned or happened by chance?

A: I started out in the industry at the age of 17 as I was determined to leave a mark. So like I said, my education was important, but for me, it was more imperative to gain hands-on experience.

Though some of my experiences were by happenstance, I have made it a point to plan my every move and effectively strategise my future plans, as well as any plans for JetSetGo.

Q: As you said you started your dream plan at 17 years of age, but five years later you were diagnosed with cancer, what was in your mind at that point of time?

A: Yes, that memory is painful to me and my family. One day, me and my mother were having a casual, laid-back ladies' night, lots of laughter and the next moment, the doctor said, "We are very sorry, but it appears that you have cancer."

Life was completely turned around, and everything felt so surreal. But over the following two days, I allowed myself the time and freedom to ponder over the diagnosis. I reminded myself of the finer details and arrived at a conclusion. Fighting was my only option. So, there was no question 'will I recover or not'.

Q: Tell us about the beginning of 'JetSetGo' and about its services?

A: The initial idea for establishing 'JetSetGo' came up in a conversation with a colleague in the UK. I narrated an idea that I had about setting up an aviation company, born out of India. It was officially launched in November 2014.

JetSetGo Aviation is working on an innovative financing model to lease out the aircraft and intends to use the "pay-as-you-go" structure. According to this arrangement, the company is paid according to how much the aircraft is flown. Additionally, JetSetGo is investigating revenue-sharing agreements.

Q: How many aircraft does JetSetGo operate and own?

A: JetSetGo operates 30 aircraft currently and owns 10 aircraft out of these 30.

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