Born of humble farmers, Budhi Prakash Thakur, has given his family wings to fly with probably first aviation company in the Himalayas.
This is nothing less than a modern day Cinderella story. The son of an uneducated, poor farmer’s son opens Air Himalayas, a private airlines service in Manali. He comes from a family where it was difficult to keep body and soul together. With only seven bighas of landholding in Khakhnal village, nine kilometers away from the hill station Manali,life was very difficult for the family.
Luckily Budhi went to the local government school and helped his father in the fields. During his teens he helped his father start growing apples. This decision eased the family’s financial crunch.
He was in his second year of college when he bid adieu to studies and planned of making a homestay for tourists near Manali who looked for budget accommodation. The homestay started with just five rooms. In a span of six years it became so popular with the tourists that the homestay has changed into Sarthak Resort. Since then the family didn’t have to look back.
But the entrepreneur inside Budhi wasn’t satiated. It wandered for new avenues. Hence came the idea of Air Himalayas.
According to Budhi, there is a dearth of proper accessibility in Manali, although it is a popular tourist destination. There is no proper train accessibility, bus journeys take 10 to 12 hours and these are very tiring. The plane fare from Delhi to Manali is around 10000 rupees, which is unaffordable for many people. So,Budhi came up with a cheaper airfare option to attract more tourists to his home town.
After putting in all his investments and bank loan Budhi started the first ever private aviation service in India. It started in 2014, on the Chandigarh -Kullu route. The journey now takes only 40 minutes! And Kullu is just an hour away from Manali.
The plane is a nine seater, charging 6000 rupees per person.
This journey had not been a bed of roses. The aviation incurred severe losses 2014-15. The partner also called quits. But Budhi is relentless. He will persevere and win. That’s what he aspires for.
Wish you all the best!