Bird Group travel services pioneer Ankur Bhatia dies at 48
Ankur Bhatia, chief executive of travel and hospitality conglomerate Bird Group, died Friday morning in New Delhi, following a massive cardiac arrest.
Bird Group, which was founded as Bird Travels in 1971, is a leading operator in the hospitality industry. It also has interests in technology, aviation services, luxury retail and education, and has also operated dealerships for BMW.
Bhatia (48) helped launch the Roseate Hotels and Resorts brand in 2016, growing Bird Group’s hotel business.
It also partnered with Spanish IT services provider Amadeus, a leading provider of information technology services to the global travel and tourism industry, in India in 1994, the first partnership of its kind in the subcontinent.
Alumnus of Modern School in New Delhi and King’s College London, Bhatia also launched India’s first natural and sustainable indoor ice rink and cafe, iSKATE, in Gurugram.
Ankur Bhatia was born to Chairman of Bird Group Vijay Bhatia and his wife Radha Bhatia in 1973. He is the older brother of Gaurav Bhatia, Executive Director of the Group, and is survived by his wife Smriti Bhatia and children, Arnav and Saina .
While studying at King’s College, Bhatia capitalized on the wave of travel outsourcing by starting a software development and service support company, Reservation Data Maintenance (India) Pvt. Ltd, or RDM, for airline back-end operations management and inventory control. Founded in 1993, RDM was India’s first BPO company.
He also led the Bird Group’s entry into IT services and research and development by launching Bird Information Systems (BIS), which provides technology and solutions to airlines.
Under his leadership, Bird Group also entered the electric mobility space through a subsidiary, Bird Electric.
“Ankur Bhatia has played a huge role in the diversification of the Bird Group into different sectors, especially retail and hospitality,” a senior executive at an automotive company said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “In automotive, the Bird Group now plans to move into electric mobility,” he added.
Bhatia had previously been granted the title of Honorary Consulate General of the Republic of Liberia in India.
Bhatia has served on the committees of various industry bodies like Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), National Aviation, Infrastructure and Luxury Retail Committee.
He was also the youngest elected President of the Delhi State Council for CII in 2006-07.
“We have not only lost our leader, our visionary, but the world has lost an amazing human being,” said a statement from the Bhatia family.
“The Bhatia family is in deep shock and asks you to respect their privacy during this difficult time of grief,” he added.
Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our app now!!