Dec 17, 2012

Incredible shots - Capt Roland Thomas shares early Jet Airways days and fabulous parties

Capt Roland Thomas :

My 1st visit tBOM to meet with Jet Airways CEO Nikos Kardasis and Chairman Naresh Goyal was in Dec 1997. Jet had only 15 B737 - 400 aircraft then. 

It was Dato Guru the VP Ops for Jet Airways, who invited me to join him. 

Meriam who was still employed as Physiotherapist in GH KL, also accompanied me.

We were provided with a Hertz car to view the city and and assess the living conditions. Must say we ended up fascinated with the prospect of spending the next few years in India.

Below Meriam on a shopping spree in Colaba.

Jan 1998 - Employed by the Airline. A Flight Operations Christmas party, organised by Dato Guru (VP Ops) in Jan 1998 was for me, a fitting introduction to the staff of Jet Airways.

Meriam on the dance floor with Sainath, who gave us a fine display of Bollywood dancing.

Staff of mine below. Meeting Capt Hatangadi (Ops Mng) & Kumaran (Tech School Mng), for the first time.

The first of Naresh Goyal's dinner parties.
We all congregated in an apartment below his so as to make a surprised entrance, as it was Nita Goyal's birthday. It was all to confusing to me then.
Below From L: Mrs Baliga (a gentle refined lady), Meriam, Philip Crasta (VP Planning), Mr Baliga (VP Engineering) and DatoGuru (who was sick and left early).

Nita's birthday bash. Below from L: Famous South Indian Actress Sridevi, Meriam and Naresh Goyal.

Meriam with Sridevi & her husband below.

Gert Van de Veer, ex Chairman of South African Airways was a Board member of Jet. Here we are after a Board meeting having a discussion. Guru does not look very convinced!
After a heavy day in the office I am relaxing with Meriam on our 'love chair' in the bedroom. We had a beautiful bedroom in Shubham Apartments, Juhu.
Les Hayward and Karen having fun at a Divali party at Naresh's.
Les was an ex-Qantas Captain who was also head of the B747-400 fleet.
He joined Jet a few years later as Ops Manager. He left Jet 2001 and is currently serving on the Board of Air New Guinea.
To the left of les is CEO Steve Forte's wife.

Divali dinner at Naresh's.
Included in the picture are Steve Forte, who had joined us late 1999 as CEO replacing Nikos, and Saroj Datta ( Executive Director).

Les Hayward had decided to call it quits in 2001. We threw a farewell party for him on the 26th Feb.

Another 'do' at Naresh's. This time we have new entrants into management viz. 2 Snr VP's under Steve Forte.

Steve chatting with Saroj.

A simple impromptu gathering of Management Jet Airways on my 59th Birthday.
We had just completed a Board meeting - hence the disheveled looks on some of us.
The scene was at the Mainland China restaurant which was just down the road from SM Centre, our office
In the picture from R are: SarberjitJeyakanthan, Gen Ashok Verma, the great Hariharan ? .

Another section of the Chinese restaurant. Capt Naveen Malkani is seated at the rear. His wife Jeya is seated next to Meriam.

My colleagues and our Boss at gathering.

From L: Capt Sarberjit Singh, Baliga (VP), Naresh Goyal (Chairman), Rajesh Verma (VP), Nita Goyal (VP) and a smiling Premila(Naidu?)

59 years old and looking young again - without the beard.
I am ready to cut the cake. Jeya (Capt Malkani's wife) seems to be having a good laugh.

My staff in Flight Operations. Taken on the 27th Jan 2003 a few months prior to my departure. Can only recollect some of the names.

Rear L-R: GeetaRenita, Pamela, ?, Angela, VidiyaVaishali, Regina (my dear secretary)

Front L-R: Savina, Gloria & Me

Dinner hosted by President of Embraer on the occasion of the signing of the LOI by Jet Airways. Our CEO Steve Forte is on the extreme right.

It was a busy night - hence the discussion with Mr Saroj Datta. And Naresh was making things easy either.

Source from his blog at :


  1. Roland my friend - how are you? Sorry we lost contact How do we join up again ? Facebook? My email is

  2. Capt Roland, I have gone through your very interesting write up on formation of MAS thru yesteryears...hope we can meet up or watsapp on 6012-9074278..anticipation to set up #kissair with A330-200 HGW or A330-800neo (hopefully as launch customer) .

    Regards Terry
    Ex Spore airlines (13yrs) and Airasia x (2 yrs)