Air India, in a bid to revive the national carrier, is all set to have world class professionals for top positions through a global search process, says Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu. In an interview to PTI, the minister said “I have already ordered a global search for professionalisaton of Air India completely. All top positions in Air India should be filled by some sort of a global search. That proposal is now under active consideration of the government.”
A source in the ministry said the government plans to set up a search committee that would look for aviation professionals from across the world who can be brought to Air India. The national carrier, which is staying afloat on taxpayers’ money, currently has nine members on the board, including two officials from the civil aviation ministry.
IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola is Chairman and Managing Director while two well known businessmen — ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar and Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla — are independent directors on the board.
Vinod Hejmadi, Air India Director (Finance) as well as Civil Aviation Ministry’s Additional Secretary Gargi Kaul and Joint Secretary Satyendra Kumar Mishra are also part of the board.
Prabhu said debt is one of the biggest problems for revival of Air India, adding that the civil aviation ministry is already working with the finance ministry to address the issue.
The carrier is estimated to have a debt burden of over Rs 55,000 crore and about Rs 29,000 crore is to be transferred into an special purpose vehicle. On December 27, the Civil Aviation Ministry told the Lok Sabha that the government has prepared a revival plan for Air India.