The Centre on Tuesday appointed Indian Administrative Service officer Pradeep Singh Kharola chairperson and managing director of national carrier Air India, The Times of India reported.

An IAS officer from the Karnataka cadre of 1985, Kharola, will replace Rajiv Bansal who was made the interim chief of the airline in August after Ashwani Lohani was asked by the government to head the Railway Board. Currently, Kharola is the managing director of Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation.

The move comes days after Bansal’s tenure at the airline was extended by three months, PTI reported.

The government is at present getting ready to privatise Air India. The airline has set up five teams to work on the process of divesting the government’s stake, and has hired investment bank SBI Capital Markets to prepare business plans for privatising its subsidiaries.