Ashwini Phadnis

New Delhi, Nov. 16 The post of the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India could be split into two. That is if the Ministry of Civil Aviation has its ways.

Official sources while confirming to Business Line that the Ministry was contemplating such a proposal refused to speculate on whether it would get the nod of the Government. “We have no comments to make just yet. The Government considers a number of proposals and we cannot comment on these,” a senior Government official said.

The move is being considered so as to provide continuity in decision making process after March next year when the current Chairman and Managing Director, Mr V. Thulasidas retires.

The implementation of the move would see executive powers being given to the Managing Director, while the Chairman would be the non-executive head of the Board.

The need for such a move is being felt as the new airline, which has been created by the merger of Air India and Indian, is currently poised at a crucial juncture as it is not only inducting 111 new aircraft, but is also undertaking a fleet review to decide on how many new aircraft it should acquire to meet growing traffic demand.

Besides, the airline is also facing problems as various sections of both airlines are unhappy with the decision to merge.

The practise of having a Chairman and Managing Director is not new to the airline. In 1994, the Narasimha Rao Government appointed Mr Russi Mody, the former Chairman of Tata Iron and Steel as joint Chairman of Air India and Indian Airlines with Mr P.C. Sen, a senior IAS official as Managing Director.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 17, 2007)
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