Wings of desire

Late last year, when Mukesh Ambani, the richest resident Indian, bought his wife Nita an Airbus A-319 corporate jet, the world sat up and took notice. At Rs 225 crore, the price tag of this “gift” had everyone gulping. A few months down the line as we sat down to finalise the cover package for this fortnight’s BT More, we realised that dozens of corporate honchos do, in fact, own private jets in India—and their numbers are growing.

     Print Edition: May 4, 2008

Late last year, when Mukesh Ambani, the richest resident Indian, bought his wife Nita an Airbus A-319 corporate jet, the world sat up and took notice. At Rs 225 crore, the price tag of this “gift” had everyone gulping. A few months down the line as we sat down to finalise the cover package for this fortnight’s BT More, we realised that dozens of corporate honchos do, in fact, own private jets in India—and their numbers are growing.

Putting together the package involved extensive research and running around. While principal correspondents Tejaswi Rathore and Anumeha Chaturvedi spoke to representatives of different aircraft manufactures around the world to come up with a list of the best executive jets money can buy, Special Correspondent Rahul Sachitanand spent a few days tracking down people who owned microlights, spoke to those who offered training programmes and found out how to go about buying these small planes.

Many high net-worth individuals are now opting for less demanding fractional ownership (or timeshare) schemes—where several people own a share in an aircraft. Principal Correspondent Deepti Khanna Bose met the men who run such timeshare clubs in India, where members can command an aircraft on demand.

In our Style section, we tell you how to look really smart by letting Gucci do up your wardrobe. In the Travel section, we take you to Beijing, the venue of the 2008 Summer Olympics. And for those who love their food (and their spirits), check out the pieces on Irish whiskey and Greek food. Or if it’s music that fills up your soul, read all about the amazing speakers we have featured this time in Tech Talk. Maybe you can listen to the coolest Indian rock bands (yes, we have a piece on them, too) on these state-of-the-art speakers. Happy reading.

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