Jaunt air taxis designed by Indian-American doctor-turned-businessman Chirinjeev Kathuria — the first indian to run for US Senate in 2004 — could be among the first to fly in India within the next four years.
The manufacturing unit will be in India
His company, Jaunt Air Mobility, collaborated with L&T Technology Services Ltd last year to develop this urban air mobility (UAM) solution, and it recently received an order for up to 250 air taxis from an Indian chopper operator. Now, he plans to manufacture these futuristic vehicles in India by 2025, both for the domestic and regional markets.
One of the doctor’s companies manufactures the RQ-35 Heidrun intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance drone, which is currently in use in Ukraine. Dr Kathuria, who was born in Delhi.
“These drones could be manufactured in India beginning next year for the defence market.”Businessman Chirinjeev Kathuria
“I received my doctorate in medicine from Brown University and my MBA from Stanford University, but aviation has always been my first love. I never practised medicine but instead founded sectoral businesses, two of which were publicly traded in the United States. I founded a commercial company in 1999 to launch and fund manned space missions. Unmanned aerial vehicles were introduced seven years ago. But, no matter what, my heart was always in India. In the mid-1990s, I assisted in the establishment of the first US investment bank office in India and worked for Morgan Stanley. I’m still wondering if we can do something in India,” Dr Kathuria said.
Jaunt air taxis are expected to take to the skies in 2026-27 after receiving certification from Canadian and American aviation regulators.
“The first manufacturing facility is in the United States, and the second will be in India. We hope to begin production in both countries by 2025. Heidrun drone production could begin in India as early as next year. Our plans for India are immediate, not long-term,” he said.
When Dr. Kathuria was eight months old, his engineer father and doctor mother moved to the United States. However, they would bring him to Delhi and Chandigarh every summer so that he could stay close to his roots, which he did.
“My grandfather was one of those who helped establish the state trading corporation. My father was instrumental in the formation of the US-India Export Promotion Council. When I first came to India in the mid-1990s to work for Morgan Stanley, I met the ‘cowboys’ of Indian business, such as Bharti Airtel’s Sunil Mittal and Uday Kotak, and worked on the first GDRs of some of the country’s largest companies. India has enormous potential, and we have ambitious plans for the country,” he said.
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