Merged Air India invites applications for new chief

Mumbai: The ministry of civil aviation has invited applications for the chairman and managing director's (CMD) post at the National Aviation Co of India Ltd, or Nacil, the merged entity of state-run carriers Air India and Indian Airlines. The tenure of the current CMD, Vasudevan Thulasidas, comes to an end in March.

The government has also appointed a search panel, headed by cabinet secretary K Chandrashekhar, to identify the likely appointee. The ministry's open invitation comes on the back of increased speculation that the government may be interested in bringing in an outside professional to manage affairs.

According to government sources, it is probable that Thulasidas may get another extension. Besides, joint managing director, Vishwapati Trivedi, who has another seven years to go in government service, is also a likely contender.

Whether an outsider or a bureaucrat, the new chief will take over at a time when the airline is in the final stages of its merger with domestic carrier Indian. The two are also rationalising their flying operations.

Together, the two carriers have ordered 111 new aircraft, which will provide a new fillip to their domestic and international operations. Both the carriers are struggling to regain lost market share to private operators.

The merged airlines have a fleet of 140 aircraft, 33,000 employees and revenues of Rs15,000 crore.