Indian billionaire buys 50% stake in US jet maker
Indian billionaire businessman Vijay Mallya, who runs the United Breweries group, has bought a 50% stake in the US jet maker Epic Aircraft for $120 million, press reports said Thursday.
Mallya, whose domestic airline Kingfisher is seeking permission to fly globally, plans to use Epic Aircraft's private business jets with single and twin engines, capable of carrying six-seven people, to meet rising demand for such aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region. “Mallya has a significant interest in our company, and we will immediately benefit from his relationships with a variety of companies, including Airbus and Pratt & Whitney, for certification,” Rick Schrameck, president and CEO of Epic Aircraft, told the Indian Express newspaper. “Epic is an outstanding global business opportunity as they have four world-beater aircrafts. There is a growing demand for business jets in the Asia-Pacific region that we hope to tap,”
Mallya, who is a pilot with a multi-engined rating and close to 2,000 flying hours, told the Economic Times. Mallya, with his stake in Epic, plans to make an entry into aircraft manufacturing. Once Epic’s new aircraft are certified, he plans to start producing them in India for the Asia-Pacific market. The billionaire himself flies in a 20-odd seater personal jet, converted from a 140-seater 727 Boeing with an in-flight bar. Epic’s concept of owner-built aircraft, popular in the US, which has thousands of hobby fliers, found favor with Mallya. Epic’s aircraft, which retail for an average of $2.5 million, have lower operating costs than conventional business jets and can be used as air-taxis for point-to-point operations. (m&c.com)
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