G. R. Gopinath
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|Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath|
G.R. Gopinath (left), 2009
November 13, 1951 |
|Known for||founder of Air Deccan|
Background and early life
Gopinath was born in the town of Melkote, Karnataka on November 13, 1951. He was the second of eight children. Gopinath's father; a school teacher, believed that schools were systems of regimentation and was resolved to teach Gopinath at home. However, Gopinath was admitted to a Kannada medium school quite late and straight away he joined Standard V. In 1962, Gopinath cleared the admission test and joined Sainik School, Bijapur. The sainik school helped and prepared Gopinath to clear the NDA entrance exams. After 3 years of rigorous training, Gopinath completed education from the NDA. He then went on to graduate from the IMA.
After school,he took a commission in the Indian Army, earning the rank of Captain. He spent eight years in the army and fought in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
Upon retirement from the armed forces, he established an ecologically sustainable sericulture farm; his innovative methods earned him the Rolex Laureate Award in 1996. Next, he started the Malnad Mobikes (Enfield dealership) and opened a hotel in Hasan.
In 1997 he co-founded Deccan Aviation, a charter helicopter service. In 2003 Gopinath founded Air Deccan, a low cost airline; Air Deccan merged with Kingfisher Airlines in 2007. In 2009 he founded Deccan 360, a freight flight business. In July 2013, Deccan 360 was ordered to wind up by the Karnataka High Court order based on petitions filed by Dubai-based United Aviation Services (UAS) and another by M/s Patel Integrated Logistics (PIL) Pvt. Ltd. — seeking recovery of amounts due to them by winding up the company. 
In May 2006 he was knighted with “Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur” the highest civilian award conferred by the French Government. He has received many awards for Air Deccan.
In 2009 Gopinath unsuccessfully contested as an independent candidate in the Lok Sabha elections. 
In 1995, the Indian government started a regulatory reforms process to encourage entrepreneurship. In the next year Gopinath started a private sector commercial helicopter service, Deccan Aviation. The Company is now one of the largest private air charter company in India and Sri Lanka. In 2003 he launched India's first low-cost airline, Air Deccan; at the time of its 2007 purchase by Kingfisher Airlines, Air Deccan connected sixty nine cities around India.
Today Captain Gopinath is focusing on Deccan Charters and has forayed into the Cargo and Express Logistics business.
Deccan Express Logistics will be the first Indian company to create a hub and spoke distribution model in the express package industry in India. It will connect not only the major metropolitan areas but also the Tier-I and Tier-II cities to India’s trade network. Renamed as Deccan Cargo and Express Logistics Pvt. Ltd.(DCEL) in 2007-2008, has been ordered to wind up by the Karnataka High Court in a recent order based on petitions — one filed by Dubai-based United Aviation Services (UAS) and another by M/s Patel Integrated Logistics (PIL) Pvt. Ltd. — seeking recovery of amounts due to them by winding up the company..
Captain Gopinath is planning a new airlines once the non-compete act between Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines and him ends on 28 January 2013. Many foreign players have shown interest in his project and ready to buy 49% stake, under FDI, in his new venture. He has already applied for the license to Aviation ministry.
Awards and honors
- 1996 - Rolex Awards for Enterprise
- 2005 - Rajyotsava Award (Karnataka)
- 2007 - Chevalier de la legion d’Honneur (France)
- Personality of the Decade Award (K.G. Foundation)
- Sir M Visvesvaraya Memorial Award (Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry)
Books by Gopinath
- Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey, Collins Business, 2010, ISBN 978-81-7223-842-1, ISBN 978-93-5029-155-9
- Pathak, Nilima (8 April 2011). "Adopting a revolutionary approach". Gulf News. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- Bengaluru, Sudha Narasimhachar (1 May 2012). "Adored by millions, Capt Gopinath is a man of many faces". The Weekend Leader. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "Captain G R Gopinath: Founder of Air Deccan". Matpal.com. February 8, 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- ISBN 978-93-5029-155-9
- Rolex awards for Enterprise
- "Captain Gopinath". Indian Heroes. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
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