-CB Edit Desk
Ankur Bhatia, executive director of travel and hospitality conglomerate Bird Group, died in New Delhi on Friday, 11th morning, following a massive cardiac arrest, as reported by The Mint. Bird Group, which was founded as Bird Travels in 1971, is a leading operator in the hospitality sector. It also has interests in technology, aviation services, luxury retail and education, and also operated dealerships for BMW.
Bhatia (48) helped launch Roseate Hotels and Resorts brand in 2016, expanding Bird Group’s hospitality business. He also partnered with Spanish IT services provider Amadeus, a leading information technology services provider for the global travel and tourism industry, in India in 1994, the first of a kind partnership then in the subcontinent then.
An alumnus of New Delhi’s Modern School, and London’s King’s College, Bhatia also launched India’s first natural and perennial indoor ice-skating rink and café, iSKATE, in Gurugram. Ankur Bhatia was born to Bird Group president Vijay Bhatia and wife Radha Bhatia in 1973. He is the elder brother of Gaurav Bhatia, the group’s executive director, and is survived by his wife Smriti Bhatia and children, Arnav and Saina.
While attending King’s College, Bhatia capitalized on the outsourcing wave in travel by launching a software development and service support company, Reservation Data Maintenance (India) Pvt. Ltd, or RDM, for managing back-end airline operations and inventory control. Established in 1993, RDM was the first Indian BPO firm.
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 had a huge role in the diversification of the Bird Group into different sectors, especially retail and hospitality,” a top executive at an automobile company said, seeking anonymity. “In automotive, the Bird Group now has plans to get into electric mobility,” he added.
Bhatia had earlier received the title of Honorary Consulate General of the Republic of Liberia in India. Bhatia was on the committees of various industry bodies like the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the National Committee on Aviation, Infrastructure and Luxury Retail. He was also the youngest elected chairman 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 astounding human being,” a Bhatia family statement said. “The Bhatia family is in a state of deep shock and requests you to respect their privacy in this difficult time of grief,” it added.