Kerala-based Billionaire B Ravi Pillai is the first Indian to own an Airbus luxury helicopter, estimated to be worth around Rs. 100 crore
B Ravi Pillai, chairman of RP Group of companies, has made headlines by taking delivery of an Airbus H145 helicopter, being the first Indian to do so. The 68-year-old businessman has an estimated worth of over USD 2.7 billion (Forbes 2022), and he operates out of UAE, with around 70,000 people under his employment across various companies.
The helicopter in question was delivered by Airbus to Ravi Pillai in Kovalam, Kerala. The RP Group owns a chain of luxury hotels in the state, with helipads at three of its hotels – Raviz Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram, Raviz Kadavu in Kozhikode, and Raviz Ashtamudi in Kollam. That last one was the destination of the helicopter’s first post-delivery flight with its owner on board.
Airbus H145 is available in different configurations for different uses – passenger transport, law enforcement, and emergency medical services. The passenger version has an onboard seating capacity ranging from 4 to 10 people, plus 1 or 2 pilots. It is capable of taking off at altitudes as high as 20,000 feet above sea level.
The one owned by Ravi Pillai is reported to be the seven-seater version. The cost of the helicopter is estimated to be around Rs. 100 crore, as per news reports. Also, in addition to being the first Airbus H145 in India, this is the first five-bladed model in the H145 series in Asia. The Airbus H145 series has around 1,500 units in service around the globe.
As per the manufacturer’s claims, Airbus H145 is the most silent helicopter in its class. This twin-engine model can cruise at a speed of 132 knots (around 244 kmph), and its 723 kg fuel tank provides a range of up to 650 km. The helicopter can carry a maximum cargo of up to 1,905 kg, or 1,600 kg on hooks.
B Ravi Pillai was born in 1953 in Kerala, India, into a family of farmers. In 1978, we migrated to Saudi Arabia after his construction business in India was forced to shut down following labour strikes. There, he built RP Group into a multi-billion-dollar business, and he used some of that capital to invest in several businesses in Kerala.