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Government to revamp Air India

NEW DELHI, July  7 – India\’s government promised to revamp troubled national carrier Air India\’s top management, including the appointment of a new chief operating officer, a report said.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel announced there would be "a major change" at the cash-strapped airline, against a backdrop of protests by its employees over the non-payment of their salaries.

"You will see in the next 30 days a major change in the top management in Air India. Some heads are going to roll," Patel was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

"We are going to bring high-quality people of great integrity and people with a proven track record in business," he said.

The report quoted unnamed civil aviation ministry sources as saying that at least "seven internationally reputed independent directors" would be appointed to the airline\’s board.

The airline will also appoint a chief operating officer, a new post that will be advertised in global media, the news agency quoted its sources as saying.

High fuel prices, fewer passengers and the global economic crisis have left Air India with 800 million dollars in losses and debts of four billion dollars in the past year, according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Last month the management of the struggling state-run carrier — which merged with government-run domestic carrier Indian Airlines in 2007 — told its employees it would defer 73 million dollars in June wages until July 15.

The airline also asked its top managers to forgo one month\’s salary as part of efforts to survive the crisis.

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