DELHI: Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani was on Wednesday, August 23 appointed as chairman of the Railway Board.
Lohani’s appointment comes after AK Mittal quit as the board chief following the recent train accidents, reports The Times of India.
Lohani is the seniormost railway official with more than one year in the board, reports NDTV.
He was handpicked for the Air India top job reportedly by the Prime Minister and was the first choice to replace Mittal.
Officials say under Lohani, the struggling airline posted an operational profit of Rs. 500 crore last year and improved its performance. The government has announced that it may privatise the airline.
“Turnaround specialist” Lohani was brought to Air India exactly two years back from the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and is credited with bringing in substantial improvement in the airline.
The changes enabled the government to bring back AI in a condition where it could be offered for sale to prospective bidders.
A 1980 batch Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers officer, Lohani had played a key role in restoring the world’s oldest working steam locomotive for running the Fairy Queen between Delhi and Alwar.
Lohani’s name figures in the Limca Book of Records’ 2007 edition for earning four engineering degrees at a young age of 21 in 1979. He was also a Guinness record holder in 1998 for running the Fairy Queen.