Rajiv Bansal appointed Air India chief


NEW DELHI: The government on Thursday appointed senior IAS officer Rajiv Bansal as the chairman and managing director (CMD) of Air India. Bansal, currently additional secretary in petroleum ministry, had held additional charge of Air India (AI) chief in August 2017 for about four months when the then chairman Ashwani Lohani was moved to Railway Board.
Bansal will take charge as AI chairman from Lohani — who was appointed to the post after retiring from Railway on February 14 last year for a period of one year — at a time when the divestment process of the airline is on and bids have been invited.
Rajiv Bansal, an IAS officer of Nagaland cadre, is a civil engineer from IIT Delhi. In his long career, he has served as secretary, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission; joint secretary in the department of heavy industries and director in aviation ministry. He has earlier been on the boards of BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited), National Aviation Company of India Ltd — the short-lived name of Air India and Indian Airlines after the two were merged in 2007 — and Alliance Air, among other organisations.
Last month, government rolled out its second attempt to sell Air India by inviting bids to sell its 100% stake in AI and AI Express and its 50% stake in the ground handling JV AI-SATS. Interested parties will have to submit their expression of interest (EOI) by 5 pm on March 17, 2020, and qualified bidders will be notified on March 31.
However, the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) for this key strategic divestment says these dates may be subject to change.
Air India’s finances are in severe doldrums and the airline is yet to pay January salary to employees. Payment of December 2019 salary was also made after much delay last month.

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