Ashwani Lohani, a Railway Service officer, today took over as the new chairman and managing director of National carrier Air India.
Lohani took charge this evening, an Air India spokesperson said.
Lohani succeded Rohit Nandan, a 1982 batch UP cadre IAS officer, who has been appointed as secretary in the Union Ministry of Skill Development.
He has taken charge on a day when one of the pilots unions of Air India has directed its members to stick to flight duty hours and reject any request for extension.
Besides, Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) is also conducting a secret ballot from today till September 6 to decide whether to declare a strike at the state-run airline against a notification by the airline management removing pilots from the workmen category.
An engineer-turned-bureaucrat, Lohani, is the first Railway Service officer to head the airline.
Prior to his appointment as Air India CMD, Lohani was heading Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation in Bhopal.
The Appointments Committee of Cabinet had approved the appointment of Lohani, a 1980 batch Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME) officer, as CMD of Air India Ltd for a tenure of three years on August 20.
Air India reported a net loss of Rs 5,547.47 crore in 2014-15 on the back of total revenues of Rs 19,781 crore. While the loss was wider than the previous fiscal, the airline managed to trim it from the 2012-13 figure of Rs 7,559.74 crore.
The national carrier’s financial performance during 2014-15 fell well short of its internal estimates, which had pegged the net loss at Rs 4,346 crore and revenues around Rs 21,290 crore.
Besides, the carrier is sitting on a debt pile of Rs 50,000 crore and its combined losses stand at a whopping Rs 30,000 crore.
A qualified mechanical engineer, Lohani is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.