Senior Indian Administrative Services officer Rajiv Bansal took over as interim chairman and managing director of Air India on Thursday. The company will work on the airline’s profitability with a missionary zeal, he said. The airline, which has more than Rs 50,000 crore in debts, is in the process of being privatised.

“We will plan to work on profitability with a missionary zeal, improve our on time performance and ensure customer satisfaction,” Bansal said in a statement. “I seek the support of all fellow Indians to fly our national carrier - Air India - Truly Indian.”

Bansal replaced Ashwani Lohani, who was appointed as the new chief of the Railway Board on Wednesday. “I feel happy and proud to be given this opportunity to lead the national carrier,” Bansal said. “The company has been growing from strength to strength - inducting new aircraft and introducing new routes.”