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New Delhi looks to private sector to fill Air India management team

The Indian government is looking for candidates from the private sector to take up senior management roles at state-owned Air India.

In a video interview, minister of civil aviation Suresh Prabhu says that the positions include chief executive officer, chief operations officer and a chief technology officer.

He explains that this is part of the government's plan to turnaround the debt-laden carrier.

"We must very clearly demarcate between the past and the future.[Where] the past is unconcerned, we are working with the finance ministry to find out the past issues were committed. Where the future is concerned, is should be completely be based on professionalism."

Prabhu says that once a new management team is in place, New Delhi will not interfere in the operations of the airline. He also implied that past government involvement "was the problem".

"Air India is suffering because of legacy [issues]. Air India's past policies have resulted in them accumulating huge debt. The debt is unserviceable on the basis of what the airline's profitability is today."

Air India had yet another unsuccessful privatisation attempt in 2018, failing to yield a single bid to take 76% of the airline. It has been reportedly seeking new capital infusions from the government and capital lines from banks as it seeks to reverse years of losses and service a debt of Rs50 billion ($703 million).

The carrier has been appointing senior management from the public sector, with current chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola from the railroad sector.

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