New CMD Rajiv Bansal vows to turn around debt-laden Air India

Debt-laden national flag carrier Air India will continue to add new routes and expand fleet, its newly appointed chairman and managing director Rajiv Bansal said on Monday.

Bansal made the comments in his first formal communication with the employees after he was given interim charge as CMD last week, after former CMD Ashwini Lohani was made chairman of the Railway Board.

Bansal also sought employees' cooperation to turn around the ailing national carrier.

''I have full faith in your capabilities and experience and am sure that we will work as a team and do everything to further strengthen the profitability of the company,'' he said.

''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,'' Bansal conveyed in a letter to staff. Bansal also referred to the 10th anniversary of the merger of Indian Airlines, said, ''exactly 10 years ago, a new resurgent Air India was born''.

Bansal's statement comes at a time when the government has constituted a group of ministers to chart out a strategy for the disinvestment of the airline.

''I exhort you all to rededicate yourself towards turning around our beloved Air India,'' Bansal said.

Bansal, a senior IAS officer, had earlier served as the additional secretary and financial adviser in the petroleum ministry.

Bansal was a part of the civil aviation ministry between 2006 and 2008 during the merger of Indian Airlines with Air India.