Pioneer in travel services, Bird Group’s Ankur Bhatia dies at 48

Ankur Bhatia, executive director of travel and hospitality conglomerate Bird Group, died Friday morning in New Delhi, following a massive cardiac arrest.

Bird Group, founded in 1971 under the name Bird Travels, 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, expanding Bird Group’s hospitality activities.

It also partnered with Spanish IT service provider Amadeus, a leading IT service provider for the global travel and tourism industry, in India in 1994, the first such partnership of its kind then in the subcontinent. at the time.

A graduate of Modern School New Delhi and King’s College London, Bhatia also launched India’s first natural and sustainable indoor ice rink and café, iSKATE, in Gurugram.

Ankur Bhatia was born to Bird Group President Vijay Bhatia and his wife Radha Bhatia in 1973. He is the older brother of Gaurav Bhatia, the group’s executive director, and is survived by his wife Smriti Bhatia and his children, Arnav and Saina.

While studying at King’s College, Bhatia took advantage of the wave of travel outsourcing by starting a software development and after-sales service company, Reservation Data Maintenance (India) Pvt. Ltd, or RDM, for the management of airline back-end operations 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 technologies 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 diversifying the Bird Group into different sectors, especially retail and hospitality,” said a senior executive of an automotive company, seeking anonymity. “In the automotive industry, the Bird group is now considering embarking on electric mobility,” he added.

Bhatia had previously received the title of Honorary Consulate General of the Republic of Liberia in India.

Bhatia was on the committees of various industry bodies like Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), National Committee for Aviation, Infrastructure and Luxury Retail.

He was also the youngest elected president of the Delhi State Council for the CII in 2006-07.

“We have not only lost our leader, our visionary, but the world has lost an amazing human being,” a statement from the Bhatia family said.

“The Bhatia family are in a state of deep shock and ask you to respect their privacy at this difficult time of mourning,” he added.

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