Aditya Ghosh, president of IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int'l) for ten years from August 2008 to July 2018 and known during that period as one of India’s most successful airline executives, will join a project to launch a new ultra-low-cost carrier with up to 70 aircraft under the moniker Akasa Air, multiple sources have told The Economic Times.

He will be working with billionaire Indian investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and former Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai Int'l) chief executive Vinay Dube to establish the airline, using the business model of Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) as inspiration, the sources said.

Ghosh was initially general counsel for IndiGo owner InterGlobe Enterprises for four years before becoming IndiGo’s president, growing the neophyte carrier into the country’s biggest airline by market share. Since leaving, he has been a board member at a string of companies, none of them in aviation, and completed an advanced management programme at Harvard Business School.

However, one of the sources said that Ghosh will own a stake of less than 10% in the airline and will be a board member rather than playing a role in the management team - though the new venture “will be his key focus.” Jhunjhunwala will hold 40%, while Dube, the project’s chief executive, will have a shareholding of more than 15%.

Boston-based private investment firm PAR Capital Management, which acquired a stake in Sun Country Airlines (SY, Minneapolis/St. Paul) in May at the time affiliates of Apollo Global Management sold theirs, and homestay specialist Airbnb will also invest in Akasa Air, the sources claimed.

Jhunjhunwala confirmed to local media on July 28 his plans to invest in the start-up, to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) from India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation within 15 days, and then place orders for up to 70 aircraft.

Praveen Iyer, who held prominent posts at Jet Airways and GoAir (G8, Mumbai Int'l), is likely to join the Akasa team as chief commercial officer, the sources said, while Anand Srinivasan a former vice-president for revenue management at GoAir, will lead information technology operations.