AirAsia India has named a senior executive from part-owner Tata Group as the new CEO of the LCC joint venture.

Sunil Bhaskaran will take over as CEO from Nov. 15, and the carrier said he will “oversee the next phase of expansion and growth of the company.” Bhaskaran has more than 30 years’ experience with the India-based Tata Group and is currently VP-corporate services at Tata Steel.

The appointment of Bhaskaran sees Tata taking a closer role in the leadership of AirAsia India. The previous CEO, Amar Abrol, came from a company affiliated with the AirAsia Group, which is the other primary owner of the Indian LCC.

Abrol left AirAsia India in June to move back to AirAsia Group headquarters to take up a senior role in group strategic projects. He had led the Indian LCC for two years, during which time the airline tripled the size of its fleet, workforce and network. However, the carrier has also been embroiled in controversy because of government accusations regarding improper lobbying, charges the airline has refuted.

The AirAsia India board and shareholders met with shortlisted candidates for the CEO role, and Bhaskaran was the “unanimous selection,” board chairman S. Ramadorai said. “With India’s aviation sector growing at a rapid pace, we are confident [Bhaskaran’s] extensive experience, ability to drive performance and work seamlessly with all stakeholders will be a great asset for AirAsia India,” Ramadorai said.

AirAsia India began operations in June 2014. It recently added its 19th Airbus A320 and plans to have 20 by the end of this year. The carrier has a 5% share of the Indian domestic market, according to the AirAsia Group’s latest financial report.

AirAsia India reported an operating loss of 516 million rupees ($6.9 million) for the second quarter, more than double the loss in the same period a year earlier. This is partly attributed to rapid growth, with capacity up 80% year-on-year. The carrier’s target is to break even in 2019.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com