Air India Express and Alliance Air, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of the flag carrier, officially have new CEOs. The shakeup in leadership comes just months before the government is hoping to wrap up the privatization of Air India. Both the new CEOs are Air India veterans, so who is taking charge of the subsidiaries?
Air India’s regional arm, Alliance Air, is the only airline that will remain government-run following the sale. Harpreet A De Singh will be taking the reins of the regional carrier, becoming the first female airline leader in the country, another notable achievement for her. A long time Air India veteran, she currently served as Head of Flight Safety for the airline and has served in several other key roles, according to Business Today
Ms. Singh first began her career at then-Indian Airlines as a commercial pilot in 1988 and later moved to management for health reasons. She is also notable for being the first female pilot in Indian Airlines, later serving as the Head of the Indian Women Pilot Association.
Alliance Air is the regional subsidiary of the flag carrier, focusing on short-haul routes to underserved cities. The airline operates a fleet of 19 ATR 42 and 72s, according to Planespotters.net.
It should be noted that unlike her counterpart in Air India Express, Ms. Singh will likely lead Alliance Air for a much longer time. This is since Alliance Air is not included in Air India’s privatization deal, which only includes the flag carrier, AI Express, and AISATS (the grounding handling agency).
Air India Express
Low-cost carrier Air India Express has also seen its top leader changed just months before a potential sale. Aloke Singh will serve as the new CEO of AI Express and has been appointed on a contract for three years (which could be ended earlier). His tenure could be brief if the Air India sale goes through as planned, with new owners likely to shuffle management.
Mr. Singh is an Air India veteran as well, serving for over 25 years in various leadership positions in Indian Airlines and Air India, according to BusinessLine. He most recently served as Chief of Network Planning at Oman Air and as an advisor to aviation analysis firm CAPA.
Air India Express is a low-cost airline, mainly serving-haul medium international routes from South India. The all-737 carrier recently recorded its highest-ever yearly profit, bringing in $55.2 million (₹412.77 crores), according to Financial Express. These figures were for the fiscal year ending March, which means the airline could have slipped back into losses since.
Preparing for the sale
The recent leadership change will help the airline prepare for its transition to a private company. As mentioned, Alliance Air will remain public, allowing it to adapt to the upcoming changes. However, the sale process remains uncertain for now, which means the new CEOs could have time to reshape the airlines as well.