Starting off as a travel agent, East West Travel & Trade Links was incorporated on 16 Apr.'82. It was promoted by N A Wahid and his brother T A Wahid. It diversified into air-taxi operations in 1992 after the government opened the skies to private operators. It is now India's largest travel agency and private airline. The company came out with a public issue in Jul.'94 to repay the expensive bridge loans (Rs 14 cr; taken from IDBI and Fairgrowth inancial Services at an average interest rate of 23%) along with the interest amounting to Rs 21.86 cr. A part of the issue proceeds was utilised to purchase fixed assets -- engines, ircraft ground support equipment, jet starters, aircraft recovery equipment and a ground power unit -- besides financing additional working capital requirements. It came out with a public issue in Jul.'94 (premium: Rs 30) to part-finance a Rs 55.2-cr project. The project was set up to acquire fixed assets for the airline business, to garner margin money for additional working capital and to repay the bridge loans and accumulated interest. East West is India's largest air-taxi operator, with a fleet of eight Boeing 737-200 and three Fokker F-27-500, catering to more than 25 destinations. It is the only air-taxi operator to have operated international chartered flights on behalf of British Airways. It is planning a rights issue to finance the purchase of additional aircraft to take the total from 11 to 13. It plans to have an aircraft maintenance unit in collaboration with AAR, US, or Airline Aerospace, UK. East West plans to diversify by setting up a five-star hotel at Kovalam and operating a luxury train. On 13 Nov.'95, East West's managing director T A Wahid was brutally gunned down outside his office by Bombay's underworld.