Mumbai: A dozen candidates are in the race to head the country's airports regulator, the Airports Authority of India (AAI), for which the government is now looking for a new head.
The Public Enterprises Selection Committee has shortlisted a dozen candidates for selecting a head for the AAI, whose current chairman K. Ramalingam completes his tenure later this year.
Of the shortlisted candidates, two are members of the AAI board, three are Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers serving as senior executives with public sector undertakings, senior civil aviation ministry sources said.
Among those in the running for the chairman's post are AAI member (planning) VP Agrawal, AAI member (finance) SC Chhatwal, and joint secretary (ministry of tourism) Amod Kant Sharma.
Readying for change: The decision to privatise the Delhi airport was taken during the tenure of current AAI chairman K Ramalingam, who is to retire later this year.
The aviation ministry is also in the process of finding a candidate to head the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The current director general, Kanu Gohain, who has been granted two extensions already, is slated to retire by end of this month.
The last date for applying for the post has been moved several times as previous applicants did not meet eligibility criteria.
The AAI manages around 127 airports across the country, with an estimated Rs4,000 crore in annual revenues and around Rs984 crore in profits in the last fiscal.
The entity, with a 19,000-strong workforce, plans to invest nearly Rs5,000 crore by 2010 on upgradation of Kolkata and Chennai international airports and improving air traffic services besides upgrading non-metro airports.
Interviews of candidates are likely to be conducted by civil aviation secretary Ashok Chawla and officials from the Public Enterprises Selection Board, the government-arm responsible for selecting candidates for top public sector posts, later this month.
The selection will then have to be approved by the minister of civil aviation Praful Patel before being sent to the government's department of personnel and training and the appointments committee of the Union cabinet.
The current AAI chief's tenure beginning 2004 saw several deregulation measures, including the final decisions on privatising the Delhi and Mumbai airports, which are now run by GMR Infrastructure Ltd and GVK Industries Ltd-led consortiums, respectively.
New airports have been constructed at Hyderabad and Bangalore while modernisation of 35 non-metro airports and upgradation of air traffic control services were kicked off.