Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group passed away this morning due to a massive cardiac arrest. He was 48. Bhatia is survived by his architect wife, Smriti and two children.
Bhatia has led the group’s strategic thrust to create multiple drivers of growth that made a significant and growing contribution to the company and industry at large. Articulating a vision for Bird Group and direction to the consortia of companies, he is credited with bringing in the Amadeus brand to the Indian sub-continent in 1994, which today is the market leader in providing travel technology for travel agents & airlines.
During the formative years, Bhatia steered the company’s entry into new growth areas. While still pursuing his degree from King’s College, University of London and capitalising the BPO wave in the travel domain, he piloted Reservation Data Maintenance (India) Pvt. Ltd. (RDM), an IT enabled software development and service support company for managing back-end airline operations and inventory control.
Talking about his friend of over 20 years, Ankush Nijhawan, MD, Nijhawan Group of Companies, said, “Ankur was my senior in school by four years, so I have seen him since my formative years. For over 20 years now, we were good friends and were actively involved in the industry activities. He was one of the youngest and finest leaders of our generation. It’s an irreparable loss for me and our entire travel fraternity.”
In deep shock on hearing about Bhatia’s demise, Rajeev Kohli, Jt. MD, Creative Travel, said, “Ankur was someone one met often within industry circles. I think we were close in age, so that hits home even more. His passing away is a shock. I don’t know what happened, but I do know that stress is the biggest killer, and we in tourism cannot be under anymore stress than we are in now. It is a sad loss for the Bhatia family and I wish them much strength in this difficult time. Life is not always fair. RIP Ankur.”
Jyoti Mayal, President, Travel Agents Association of India, said, “It is indeed a shock to learn about Ankur Bhatia’s demise. He was truly a stalwart of the travel & hospitality industry. Ankur was truly a dynamic, loving, caring and energetic person. All words fall short of expressing our grief andthe loss to the entire industry. My heart goes out to Radha, Vijay, Smriti, Arnav and Saina who are dear family friends. God Bless his soul and give strength and peace to family.”
Marking the Group’s IT services and R&D foray with Bird Information Systems (BIS), another of Bhatia’s extremely successful ventures, provides state-of-the-art technology and solutions to various airlines. Also, to his credit is BirdRes, a B2B distribution channel that allows the travel industry players to effectively manage all aspects of their content and payment needs in a flexible and easy to use solution.
For his outstanding contribution to the travel, tourism and hospitality industry, Bhatia and the various business verticals under his patronage have been felicitated with prestigious awards and accolades over the past many years. He Bhatia was conferred with the title of Honorary Consulate General of the Republic of Liberia in India. In September 2016, He was awarded with an honorary Doctorate of Excellence recognising him for his success in his established field.