New Delhi: Flag carrier Air India will decide on Tuesday whether to implement a cost-cutting plan suggested by consulting firm Booz and Co. that envisages a bigger role for four newly appointed members of its board.
The new directors are Anand Mahindra, vice-chairman and managing director of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd; Amit Mitra, secretary-general of industry lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry; industrialist Harsh Neotia; and retired air force chief Fali H. Major.
They will be briefed on the airline’s status and future options when they attend their first board meeting on Tuesday, a government official said.
Among the key decisions likely to be discussed is a turnaround plan presented by Booz. This includes a suggestion to establish half-a-dozen new committees, including for finance, human resources, route planning and strategy that are proposed to be headed by each of the new directors, according to another government official. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.
In the wings: Air India’s finances and operations to be rehauled. Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
The committees, which will also have representatives from the airline and the civil aviation ministry, will decide on the future course of the airline and take key decisions.
The board meeting is critical as the aviation ministry is preparing a note seeking the government’s approval for a plan to turn around Air India. The government has already infused Rs945 crore into the beleagured airline, most recently through two infusions totalling Rs800 crore in February and March.
It has said that further help will depend on the ability of the airline to put its finances in order and cut costs. Air India till recently had a low equity capital of Rs145 crore.
Hiring of a new expat chief operating officer, interviewed by a panel led by aviation secretary Madhavan Nambiar and Air India chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav last month, is also likely to come up for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting at the airline’s Nariman Point headquarters in Mumbai.
Expats, including former vice president of flight operations at Jet Airways (India) Ltd, Gustav Baldauf, senior director of marketing at Air Canada, George Reeleder, and chief commercial officer of Malta Airways, Brock Friesen, are the shortlisted candidates.