Rise like a phoenix, soar like an eagle: Leena Juvekar Duttagupta

Leena Juvekar Duttagupta near Adonis Aviation helicopter

Starting with International Women’s Day last month, The Teenager Today has been bringing you a series on women entrepreneurs, ‘Women Mean Business’. Each article will introduce to our readers an inspiring woman entrepreneur or professional and give us an insight into what shaped them and their experience of entrepreneurship.

Since time immemorial, man has looked to the skies for inspiration. In this issue we meet one such wonder woman, whose quest for adventure made her reach for the skies, literally and figuratively!

Meet Leena Juvekar Duttagupta, entrepreneur and partner in Adonis Aviation Enterprises, an integrated aviation company in the business of providing aviation charter services pan India and overseas.

Adonis Aviation’s services cover a wide spectrum right from executive and business charters, aircraft for product launches and promotional events, film shoots, sports charters as well as for aerial surveys to medical evacuation! Their fleet of flying machines include executive business jets, turbo propeller aircraft, helicopters and drones. They also provide sales and purchase as well as organize aviation-related permissions making them a one-stop solution for clients’ flying needs. The aircrafts are flown by the most experienced pilots and are maintained by a professional engineering staff with flight safety and good engineering practices as the main objective.

India aims to become the third-largest aviation market by 2020 and the largest by 2030. Today, affluent individuals, VIPs and corporates are increasingly turning to private charter services for their travel needs due to the flexibility that such services offer at a comparatively reasonable cost.

This is the story of a woman entrepreneur who stormed this male-dominated field and is now recognised as one of the premier aviation service providers in the country.

Leena was a typical school-going child when, at the age of 7, her life changed dramatically. Her father met with an accident at the mill where he was working. He was bedridden for a year, and received no compensation from the company. Somehow they pulled through this difficult period, but a few years later when union problems erupted at the mill, things became tough once again.

Leena Juvekar Duttagupta with actor Akshay Kumar

Leena’s mother took on odd jobs like cooking, selling vegetables and sarees and picking up and dropping children from school to support the family. Leena helped in whatever way she could at her tender age. When she reached the 9th standard, she took up part-time jobs. She completed her graduation in Arts but chose not to study further due to financial constraints. To add to the pressure, her father’s mill closed down and, since both her younger sister and brother were studying, Leena joined hands with her mother to take on the responsibility for the family’s needs.

Aviation had always been Leena’s passion and she convinced her father’s friend, who ran an aircraft Maintenance & Repair Organisation (MRO), to give her a job, thus beginning her journey in this sector. Her salary of Rs 1,750 per month was not enough to support her family, and so she simultaneously took up tuitions for students to augment her income.

Leena thereafter worked in seven different aviation companies in different departments, thus gaining the knowledge she would need to set up her own business. In 2011, Leena and her brother Rahul started their partnership aviation company, Adonis Aviation, with barely Rs 60,000 as seed funding.

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Naresh Karmalker

Naresh Karmalker

Naresh Karmalker is a consultant in the non-profit sector. He is currently the Asst. Area Director (Mumbai West) for Business Network International (BNI) India, part of BNI, the largest business referral organisation in the world.