New Delhi: Senior IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola has been appointed as the new CMD of disinvestment- bound Air India, the government said Tuesday.
Kharola would take over as the chairman and managing director of the flagship carrier from Rajiv Bansal, who was given an extension only last week.
A 1985-batch Karnataka cadre officer, Kharola would be steering the national airline at a time when the government has started the process for its strategic disinvestment.
Kharola has been appointed as the CMD of Air India in the rank and pay of Secretary to Government of India, an official release said.
He has been the managing director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd since February 2015.
Among others, Kharola has worked in various posts in Karnataka, including as the chairman of Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation Ltd. He has also served as principal secretary to the Karnataka chief minister.
Interestingly, Bansal -- who is also additional secretary and financial adviser at the petroleum ministry -- had got an extension as Air India CMD only last week after his initial three-month tenure ended on November 23.
As part of efforts to revive the fortunes of Air India -- which is staying afloat on taxpayers' money -- the government has decided on selling stake in the airline.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle nod for the strategic disinvestment of Air India in June this year.
The carrier, which has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore, managed to eke out operational profit for the first time in a decade in 2015-16.
Under a turnaround plan approved by the previous UPA regime, Air India is to receive up to Rs 30,231 crore from the government subject to meeting certain performance thresholds. The ten-year bailout package began from 2012.
So far, the embattled carrier has received around Rs 26,000 crore under the package.