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Govt to scout the globe to fill top positions at Air India, says Prabhu

On December 27, the Civil Aviation Ministry told the Lok Sabha that the government has prepared a revival plan for Air India

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Air India
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The government plans to rope in professionals for top positions at through a global search process, as part of efforts to revive the national carrier, according to Civil Minister Suresh Prabhu.

With the proposed strategic stake sale of the failing to take off in May this year, the government has been working on various initiatives, including hiving off a significant chunk of over Rs 550-billion debt into a special purpose vehicle, to turn-around the ailing airline.

Against this backdrop, the government is now actively considering the proposal to professionalise management.

Talking about steps for reviving the national airline, Prabhu said there are plans for complete professionalisation.

"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," the minister told PTI in an interview.

A source in the know said the government plans to set up a search committee that would look for professionals from across the world who can brought to Air India.

Currently, the national carrier -- which is staying afloat on taxpayers' money -- has nine members on the board, including two officials from the civil ministry.

ALSO READ: Do everything to ensure airline stay afloat: Air India chief to employees

The is senior IAS officer while two well known businessmen -- ITC chairman Y C Deveshwar and Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla -- are independent directors on the board.

Ravinder Kumar Tyagi, Syed Zafar Islam, are the other independent directors.

Air India Director (Finance) Vinod Hejmadi 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 550 billion and about Rs 290 billion 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.

A comprehensive financial package, including transfer of non-core debt and assets to a special purpose vehicle, implementation of robust organisational and governance reforms by the board and differentiated business strategies for each of the core businesses of Air India are part of the plan.

"Higher levels of operational efficiency by strengthening management and implementing best business processes" are among the major elements of the plan.

First Published: Sun, December 30 2018. 11:20 IST
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