Former Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani has been reappointed Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Air India. Lohani headed the carrier from August 2017 to September 2017 when he was moved to the Railway Board as the chairman, from where he retired in December 2018. It was during his tenure that Air India made its first operating profit of ₹105 crore in FY17 since the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India in 2007.
Touted as the ‘Turnaround specialist’, Lohani’s appointment will be crucial after Air India’s failed divestment attempt last year. This year, the government has already decided to transfer over Rs 29,000 crore of AI’s huge Rs 55,000 debt to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), along with the airline’s assets like real-estate and other subsidiaries of Air India.
Lohani succeeds the 1985-batch Karnataka cadre IAS Pradeep Singh Kharola, who earlier this month was appointed as the Civil Aviation Secretary following the superannuation of RN Choubey.