The Ministry of Civil Aviation will soon launch a head-hunting exercise for Air-India’s first professional, non-bureaucratic chairman and managing director.
Air-India Ltd, which has completed 75 years of operations, is in the process of being merged with domestic carrier Indian Airlines. The advent of numerous foreign airlines in the country has seen Air-India steadily losing market share over the past few decades.
Aviation experts have been demanding that the state-carrier, given the scale of operations, be run by a professional manager rather than IAS officers who head most public sector companies in the country.
With 111 aircraft on orders over the next four years, the airline was set to be the fourth largest carrier in Asia and would need a core professional team to streamline the merger process, said Kapil Kaul, a Delhi-based analyst with the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.
According to a senior ministry official who spoke on the conditions of anonymity, "The plan is to bring in a professional head to oversee the new airline and strengthen it in the existing market (after the merger begins)."
The ministry had recently announced V Thulasidas as the new chairman and managing director and Vishwapati Trivedi as joint managing director, both IAS officers, to spearhead the new merged entity. The new CMD will be chosen from the aviation industry and will replace Thulasidhas who completes his extended term this financial year.