Senior IAS officer Rajiv Bansal on Thursday took charge as the interim CMD of Air India, saying that he is committed to working on the airline's profitability with a "missionary zeal". The state-owned airline, which has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore, has been in the red for long but managed to eke out operational profit for the first time in a decade in 2015-16. "We will plan to work on profitability with a missionary zeal, improve our on time performance and ensure customer satisfaction," Bansal said in a statement soon after assuming charge as Air India's Chairman and Managing Director. "I seek the support of all fellow Indians to fly Air India our national carrier - Air India - Truly Indian," he said. Bansal replaced Ashwani Lohani, who has assumed office as Railway Board Chairman. "I feel happy and proud to be given this opportunity to lead the national carrier.
The company has been growing from strength to strength - inducting new aircraft and introducing new routes," Bansal said after formally taking office from Lohani. Bansal, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser at the petroleum ministry, was appointed Air India's interim CMD on Wednesday. According to the release, Bansal had served as a director in the civil aviation ministry and played a crucial role as a board member of the National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) during the formative years of the merged national carrier. He has also served as the board member of the Alliance Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, the release said. A Nagaland cadre IAS officer, Bansal had been a joint secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) where he had handled the areas of digital payments, IT Act, Aadhaar, and internet governance. A civil engineer by profession, Bansal graduated from IIT Delhi in 1986. He also has a Diploma in Finance from ICFAI, Hyderabad and an Executive Masters in International Business from IIFT, Delhi.