Tata Group has announced Natrajan Chandrasekaran as the chairman of Air India. His appointment was confirmed in the board meeting on Monday in Delhi. He is expected to take charge on or before April 1.
Tata group had previously announced Turkey’s Ilker Ayci as the chief executive of Air India, but that appointment could not be met. Turkey’s Ilker Ayci had declined to be the chief executive of Tata’s Air India.
“Chandra has been taking a personal interest in the airline. He has been taking detailed presentations from all board members since last week,” say officials.
Outlining Tata’s vision for the airline, Chandra had recently promised to make “AI the world-class airline it deserves to be” and “absolutely best in class” in customer service, technology, fleet, network, and “best possible hospitality both in flight and off flight.” All these will require a team of top-notch experts.
“AI has to quickly become a more attractive option to leverage its main strength of medium/long and ultra-long-haul international direct connectivity in terms of cabin comfort to prevent foreign airlines from evening its bubble-time passengers away. In domestic, IndiGo — with a much lower cost base — has close to 55% market share,” said an industry insider.
It is expected that there will be regular international flights starting from March 27, people will again have the option of taking one-stops via nearby hubs to fly between India and the rest of the world.
The bubble system in place — from March 23, 2020 will end on March 26, 2022 — meant fewer flights by foreign airlines.
Chandrasekaran was reappointed as Tata Sons’ executive chairman for another five years in February 2022. He is the Chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company and promoter of more than 100 Tata operating companies. He joined the Board of Tata Sons in October 2016 and was appointed Chairman in January 2017.
He also chairs the Boards of several group operating companies, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – of which he was Chief Executive Officer from 2009-17.
His appointment as Chairman followed a 30-year business career at TCS, which he joined from university. He rose through the ranks at TCS to become CEO and Managing Director of the leading global IT solution and consulting firm.