Monday, September 04, 2017

An ornamental position or a calculated move?

Debt-ridden national carrier, Air India announced Rajiv Bansal as the new chairman and managing director (CMD), after he assumed office last week. Bansal took over Ashwani Lohani who was recently given charge of the Indian railways.
The additional secretary and financial adviser in the petroleum ministry, Rajiv Bansal is additionally appointed Air India’s CMD for a three-month tenure. The appointment came at a time when Air India is undergoing a privatisation procedure to save it from ‘falling-apart’. This made several industry insiders question the move and wonder if Bansal’s appointment actually holds value.
A senior operational personnel of Air India was overheard saying, “I do not understand what good will come in three months that will overcome everything that is going on already. It is like a feel-good position to maintain a farce!”
Bansal himself however remains hopeful. In a letter to his employees, he stated, “I have full faith in your capabilities and experience and I am sure that we will work as a team and do everything to further strengthen the profitability of the company. We have introduced new flights to international destinations and will continue to launch new routes in the days to come. Along with extending our network, we will be inducting new aircraft to augment our fleet with state of the art aircraft like the Dreamliners and A320 Neos.”
The senior IAS officer also referred to 10th anniversary of the merger of Indian Airlines and stated how it marked the dawn of a new era for Air India. “I exhort you all to rededicate yourself towards turning around our beloved Air India,” Bansal said.
04/09/17 Shalini Dasgupta/Media India Group