As the government plans to take a long-term perspective on the fate of the ailing national carrier, the Air India Board, with four new professional members, would meet in Mumbai on Tuesday to discuss ways to revamp the airline.
It would be the first meeting of the Board since the appointment of these four top men as non-official part-time Directors of the Board.
They are industry leaders Anand G Mahindra and Harsh Neotia, former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major and former FICCI Secretary General Amit Mitra.
An announcement regarding the selection of a new Chief Operating Officer, who would function under the CMD Arvind Jadhav, is likely to be made at the meeting on Tuesday.
The three candidates interviewed for the post were former Vice President flight operations in Jet Airways Gustav Baldauf, senior director of marketing in Air Canada George Reeleder and chief officer (commercial) Malta Airways Brock Friesen.
Top officials told PTI that Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav would give a presentation to the Board on the steps taken by the airline to cut costs and enhance savings. The new members would be familiarised with the major issues facing the cash-strapped carrier.
The company, which has been going through turbulent times and has been in red for over two years, is taking aggressive restructuring steps to make a turnaround.
The government has committed for Rs 1,200 crore for Air India in the annual budget. This will be over and above Rs 800 crore equity infusion which was approved by the government.
In a recent interview, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said the government would have to take a long—term view on the national carrier.
Asked if government had any intention of privatising or disinvesting Air India, he had said “I cannot speak about policy until some decision is taken by government. As a personal opinion, I can say that most national carriers across the world have not done well.”
“... Some day, the government may take a different decision. As of today, we intend to run it as a national carrier, as state-owned,” Patel had said.
A Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, are monitoring the performance of Air India in terms of whether the cost—cutting measures justify government’s financial assistance to it.