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In Conversation With Rishikant Singh

Ranjani Saigal

A PSU, or a Public Service Unit business like Air India is not just about the bottom line but it is about providing services for the benefit of the citizens of India” says Rishikant Singh. He is the Regional Manager for the Americas. 

“I always look upon the world with a can-do attitude. I come from a middle class family. I wanted to come to the US and study. Finance was a challenge. I worked a few jobs and was able to get an MBA from Baruch College”. 

Singh had spent three years in New York completing MBA at Baruch College in the City University of New York in 1987 and as a licensed stockbroker on Wall Street very briefly. He went to Bombay in June 1987 and joined Air India, accumulating over 27 years experience since.

What motivated him to leave a lucrative job on Wall Street and work at Air India? “When I was working in New York, often friends would visit New York. Unfortunately due to my very busy schedule I could never make time to meet them. One day I realized that family and friends was more important to me than money and hence decided to move back to India”

What has it been like working for Air India? “ I have really enjoyed it. The fact that my work is actually impacting an organization whose mission is not just about the bottom line but also about impacting India’s interests in a positive way makes the work very meaningful” says Singh. “Any support of Air India goes a long way to impact India itself”

Air India does many things keeping in mind not just business but India’s interest. “Air India provides air service to far-away places in the Northeast where it may not make business sense to fly. But the Indian citizens of the Northeast in far off places deserve the service. An air evacuation of Indian and subcontinent nationals fleeing Lebanon in the crisis of July 2006 is an experience I cherish with great satisfaction. In such cases it is more than just business”

Passenger revenues account for 95% of all revenues of Air India. His notable contribution was in revenue management’s computerization of forecasting and seat inventory control, and field sales. Before taking up the Midwest operations, since 2007, he has worked towards selection and implementation of a common IT platform for the merged carriers of Indian Airlines and Air India. 

Is it hard to bring innovation to public companies like Air India? “If you have the will and the ability to execute you can bring about great innovation in companies.”

He has exposure to airport operations, field sales, marketing, sales promotion, distribution channel, viability and profitability of routes and realignment of operations. His stint as Manager – Kuwait & Cyprus during 2004-07 saw Air India charting unprecedented sales growth of 60 percent.
Air India has significantly upgraded its fleet.  It is a member of Star Alliance. Do we get a direct flight from Boston? “We recommend you go to the Prime minister’s website and put a request. It will certainly get the attention of the government”

“ Whether you are looking for a great travel experience or looking to impact India with your travel dollars, Air India is the right choice for you”

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1.Service to the nation by Air India April 1, 2015Srishi 

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R. Singh

Shiv Kapuria and R. Singh

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