On January 11, SpiceJet put for sale 1 million tickets at Rs 2,013 apiece (all inclusive). The window of discount would stay open for 72 hours, and was meant to attract traffic during the lean season (March to June). On a normal day, the airline would sell up to 45,000 tickets; but on those three days, it sold 700,000 tickets. Such was the rush that travel portals were left gasping for breath. Some had to suspend sales for a while. Consumer anger spilled over to the social media.
In one stroke, Kalanithi Maran, the promoter of SpiceJet, had stirred the aviation market that had gone sedate with the exit of Kingfisher Airlines. Like always, Kalanithi, 48, kept himself away from the limelight. Actually, that's how the owner of SpiceJet, the Sun media empire and SunRisers, the Hyderabad franchise of the Indian Premier League, chooses to be.
Forbes had estimated Kalanithi's wealth at $2.8 billion in 2012. That makes him the richest man in Chennai. I have met him twice, that too at the annual general meeting of shareholders of Sun TV. He shook my hand and directed all queries to his managers. Kalanithi's security guards shielded him from journalists. It's only now that he has appointed a spokesperson: Sun TV CFO S L Narayanan.
Text: Business Standard