National carrier Air India’s regional subsidiary Alliance Air announced Harpreet A De Singh as its chief executive officer, making her the first woman head to lead an Indian Airline.
Air India Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Rajiv Bansal issued an order on October 30, saying Singh "will hold the charge of Alliance Air CEO post till further orders," TOI reported.
Singh, who currently holds the position of Air India’s executive director (flight safety) will be replaced on the post by Captain Nivedita Bhasin, who is one of the airline's most senior commanders currently flying Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Bhasin has also been asked to head several other departments, given her experience.
Meanwhile, Singh was the first female pilot to be selected by Air India in 1988, but could not fly due to health reasons, the report said. She also headed the Indian Women Pilot Association.
It is to be noted that the regional subsidiary of AI, Alliance Air is not up for sale with the Maharaja-AI Express-AISATS combine and will continue to function as a PSU. If the national carrier gets a buyer and is privatized, AI's old Boeing 747's will be transferred to Alliance Air.
Last year in October, Alliance Air, made expansion plans that included the launch of flights to new destinations. The carrier, last year, also had launched its maiden overseas flight from Chennai to Jaffna making it the 55th destination connected by the airline. Harpreet’s appointment comes in a year when the airline industry, in general, is reeling under losses, layoffs, and pay cuts on account of the pandemic. As a result, in July this year, Air India had decided to send employees on leave without pay for up to 5 years.