Air India Ltd’s chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola will be the new civil aviation secretary. Kharola’s appointment follows the superannuation of former aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey in January. Kharola, a 1985 batch IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre, was appointed the head of the loss-making Air India in November 2017. It was during Kharola’s tenure that the government had failed in its maiden attempt to privatize the national carrier. In addition to a renewed attempt to privatize Air India, Kharola’s challenges could include improving infrastructure in one of the fastest growing aviation markets, globally.
Did You Know?
- Air India is the flag carrier airline of India headquartered at New Delhi.
- It is owned by Air India Limited, a government-owned enterprise, and operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving 94 domestic and international destinations.
- The airline has its hub at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, alongside several focus cities across India.
- Air India is the largest international carrier out of India with an 18.6% market share. Over 60 international destinations are served by Air India across four continents.
- The airline was founded by J. R. D. Tata as Tata Airlines in 1932; Tata himself flew its first single-engine de Havilland Puss Moth, carrying air mail from Karachi to Bombay’s Juhu aerodrome and later continuing to Madras (currently Chennai).