The Story of Naresh Goyal - Founder of Jet Airways, His Rise and Downfall!

The Story of Naresh Goyal - Founder of Jet Airways, His Rise and Downfall!

Naresh Goyal is the man behind Jet Airways. Goyal started by borrowing some money from his mother and ended up being the owner of the largest airline company in India. After the Jet Airways IPO, Naresh Goyal's net worth was estimated by Forbes at $1.9 billion, and he was also announced as the 16th richest Indian by Forbes magazine. However, his fortune changed drastically, with the downfall of his company. Debts mounted for Jet Airways, and eventually, it not only dragged down the fortune of Naresh Goyal but also ensnared him with a list of allegations, which he still isn't able to run free from.

Read ahead to know the story of this man who took it from scratch to become a millionaire, and is presently under the radar of the Enforcement Directorate.

Naresh Goyal- Biography

Name Naresh Goyal
DOB 29 December 1949
Nationality Indian (NRI)
Occupation Founder and Former Chairman of Jet Airways
Year Active 1967–2019
Net Worth $600 mn (2012)
Spouse Anita Goyal
Children Nivaan Goyal and Namrata Goyal

Naresh Goyal - Early life, Education and Challenges
Naresh Goyal - Family
Naresh Goyal - Career
Naresh Goyal - Controversy
Naresh Goyal - Awards

Naresh Goyal - Early life, Education and Challenges

Naresh Goyal was born on 29 December 1949. He was born in Sangrur, Punjab. Though he was born in the house of jewellery dealer, Goyal had to face hardships since his childhood days. All of these began with his father's sudden demise when he was still a child.

Goyal studied in the Govt. Raj High School for Boys till his 6th standard. He, along with his family, went through a major financial crisis when he was just 11 years old. The Goyal family sustained but lost almost all the property in an action by the government and the bank, including their own house. His maternal uncle helped him during this time. He paid for his studies till his graduation. He wanted to pursue Chartered Accountancy but instead ended up doing B.Com from Govt. Bikram College of Commerce, Patiala.

Naresh Goyal
Naresh Goyal

Naresh Goyal - Family

Naresh was born into a Punjabi Hindu family, where his mother was a house-maker and his father a jewellery dealer. His father died when he was too young. He also had an elder brother, Surinder Kumar Goyal, who was the co-founder of Jet Airways, along with Naresh. Surinder was earlier the co-founder of the travel agency Jet Air, which was founded by himself and Naresh in 1974. Naresh's elder brother also had a key role in the launch of Jet Airways. Surinder Kumar Goyal died on August 9, 2015.

He got married to Anita Goyal, and she has been there with him right from the beginning of Jet Airways and is still sharing the fate that Naresh Goyal has been recently seeing. The couple has a daughter and a son - Namrata Goyal and Nivaan Goyal. Their daughter Namrata Goyal is a Film Producer at FilmStoc, while their son Nivaan Goyal was on the Board of directors of Jet Airways.

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Naresh Goyal - Career

After his graduation in 1967, he joined his uncle, Seth Charan Das Ram Lal's travel agency, East West Agencies, as a cashier. Goyal's starting salary was INR 300/per month.

As soon as he completed his graduation, Naresh joined the travel business with the GSA for Lebanese International Airlines. In the period between 1967-1974, Naresh Goyal went through extensive training in his travel business while in association with numerous foreign airlines. Goyal also travelled extensively during this period.

He was appointed as the Public Relations Manager of Iraqi Airways in 1969 because of his hard work and dedication. Goyal was eventually appointed as the Regional Manager for ALIA, Royal Jordanian Airlines in 1971 and operated in the same position till 1974. During this time, he gained experience in the areas of ticketing, reservation, and sales. He had also worked with Indian officers of Middle Eastern Airlines.

He borrowed some money (nearly £500) from his mother in 1974 to start up his own travel agency along with his brother and named it Jetair. His agency represented sales and marketing of airlines like Air France, Austrian Airlines, and Cathy Pacific.

Jet Airways
Jet Airways

He was appointed as the Regional Manager of Philippe Airline in 1975 and handled the commercial operations of the airline in India. When the Government of India announced the Open Skies Policy in 1991, Naresh initiated an airline company, and in 1992, he transformed his agency into Jet Airways.

Jet Airways started its operations nationwide in 1993, and by 2004, Jet Airways initiated operations of international flights. By 2010, Jet Airways was the largest air carrier in India after it acquired Air Sahara in 2007. However, it was then that troubles began to boil up for Naresh Goyal and his company, which led to Naresh Goyal stepping down from his position in March 2019.

Naresh Goyal - Controversy

A PIL was filed against him in the 2000s, alleging him to have links with the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. It was said that Jet Airways was founded by Dawood but was given a clean chit by the government along with security clearance.

He was also booked for money laundering by Enforcement Directorate (ED) under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for his involvement in suspicious transactions involving 19+ privately held firms associated with him, and in March 2019, the ticketing agent-turned entrepreneur, Naresh Goyal, stepped down from the Board of Jet Airways, along with his wife, Anita Goyal.

Naresh and Anita Goyal were booked on charges of cheating and a criminal breach of trust in February 2020 by the MRA Marg Police. Allegations still persist against Naresh Goyal and the CBI will likely soon file an FIR against Naresh Goyal, and his associations on the basis of the allegations against him and his close aids for defrauding banks and misappropriating the loans granted by them, as of April 2022.

In 2019, the airline delayed payments to banks, following which the company sought an $840 million bailout from the shareholders. Then, the shareholders approved the conversion of the loan into equity.

Finally, the lenders finalized a resolution plan for the airline, and they agreed to infuse Rs 1,500 crore in interim funding for a period of 2 months. Naresh Goyal and Anita Goyal stepped down from the board in March 2019. The airline company is all set now to resume its services soon, as per the reports of May 2022, under the ownership of Kalrock Capital and Mr. Murari Lal Jalan.

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Naresh Goyal - Awards

He has been the recipient of several awards throughout his lifetime.

Awards Year
Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Services from Ernst & Young September 2010
Distinguished Alumni Award-2000 October 2000
Outstanding Asian-Indian award November 2003
Aerospace Laurels for outstanding contribution in the field of Commercial Air Transport April 2000 and February 2004
NDTV Profit Business Award 2006 28 July 2006
Accorded the prestigious TATA AIG – Lifetime Achievement Award 8 September 2007
Travel Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 19th annual TTG (Travel Trade Gazette) Travel Awards 25 October 2007
Man of the Year Award by the Aviation Press Club (APC) 9 April 2008
Business Person of the Year award by UK Trade & Investment at the India Business Awards 2008 9 September 2008
CNBC TV18 India Business Leader Awards 22 January 2009
International Entrepreneurs of the Year by the readers of Asian Voice 27 February 2009
Lifetime Achievement Award of the Year by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) August 2010
Hall of Fame honour from Hotel Investment Forum of India 2011 January 2011
Belgium conferred the Commandeur of the Order of Leopold II, one of the country's highest civilian distinctions November 2011
Amity Leadership Award for Business Excellence October 2012

Naresh, as a man, started from a humble household and got up the ladder by himself. His first salary was just Rs 300 per month. He went through a time of hard struggles and polished himself to be a fine man. He never gave up and thought big. His story inspires us to have ambition and to create our own destiny. Though he seems to be on unstable grounds now, Naresh Goyal will always stand as a father figure for the legions of entrepreneurs to come.

Jet Airways Case Study | Jet Airways Bankruptcy and Possible Revival
This StartupTalky post covers the Jet Airways crisis along with the latest updates on the issue.


Why did Jet Airways fail?

One of the main reasons that led to the downfall of Jet Airways is the rising debts that ensnared the company and its operations. The Chairman's management style was also opposed by many, which, therefore, was also another reason.

Who took over Jet Airways?

Jet Airways went into bankruptcy in June 2019 after it failed to repay its mounting debt of $1.2 billion. Airlines like Vistara acquired 16 aircraft from the fleet of temporarily shut Jet Airways. Jet Airways is currently all set to resume its operations soon, as of May 2022.

Who is the new owner of Jet Airways?

Murari Lal Jalan and Kalrock Capital are the new owners of Jet Airways.

Who is the CEO of Jet Airways?

Sanjiv Kapoor has been named the CEO of Jet Airways.

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