The appointment comes days after Bansal was given an extension for three months. Official sources said Kharola has been appointed as the new CMD of Air India.
Pradeep Singh Kharola on Tuesday has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India. Kharola, a Karnataka cadre IAS officer will replace Rajiv Bansal, who has been serving as the interim CMD for a little over three months. The appointment comes days after Bansal was given an extension for three months. Official sources said Kharola has been appointed as the new CMD of Air India. Currently, he is the Managing Director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.
The change of guard at the helm of Air India also comes at a time when the government is in the process of finalising the modalities of the strategic disinvestment of the national carrier.
Air India has about Rs 28,000 crore as working capital debt and about Rs 4,000 crore as interest burden alone. It has not turned a profit in 10 years, since at least the year 2007. The carrier has received bailout packages worth about Rs 24,000 crore out of a total Rs 30,000 crore approved but has failed to revive its fortunes amid private airlines continuously gaining market share.
Earlier on November 24, the loss-making and disinvestment bound Air India has removed its executive director AS Soman from in-flight services. The order was issued last week in which Soman was directed by Air India chairman and managing director Rajiv Bansal to take charge of Head Quarters with immediate effect. Even though no official reason was cited for the removal, an insider revealed that there was some dispute between operations and in-flight services department. In place of Soman, AK Govil, who is the ED for operations now, has been given the additional role. However, the Air India spokesman was not available for comment, according to PTI.
Earlier in March, Soman was made the ED of in-flight services from the training department during a major rejig at Air India. The move was done after the then ED, operations, AK
Kathpalia was removed from the post for evading both pre and post-flight alcohol tests and subsequently Govil was brought to the operations department from the in-flight services.