The civil aviation ministry is following up with the home ministry regarding security clearance for Air India CEO-designate Campbell Wilson and the approval is expected in the coming weeks, according to a senior official.
Tata Sons, which took over the loss-making airline on January 27 this year, announced the appointment of Wilson on May 12.
Weeks after taking over the carrier, Tata Sons, on February 14, named Turkish Airlines’ former Chairman Ilker Ayci as Air India’s MD and CEO. However, Ayci, who was to take over on April 1, declined to join the group amid concerns expressed over his appointment in certain quarters.
Wilson was the CEO of Singapore Airlines’ wholly-owned subsidiary Scoot Air. Singapore Airlines is a joint venture partner of Tata Group in full-service carrier Vistara. According to the civil aviation ministry official, an application for security clearance to Wilson is before the home ministry.
The ministry is following up with the home ministry on the security clearance for the new Air India CEO and the clearance is expected in the coming months. Under civil aviation rules, clearance of the home ministry is mandatory for the appointment of key personnel at airlines, including foreigners.
The home ministry did not offer a comment on the matter but a senior official said the application is under consideration. An Air India spokesperson did not respond to a query from PTI on the matter.
In a message to Air India employees on June 20, Wilson said the airline’s “best years are yet to come” and that the journey to make it a world-class airline will require efforts that are “big and small, easy and difficult”.
Wilson, an aviation industry veteran with over 26 years of experience, started as a management trainee with Singapore Airlines in New Zealand in 1996.
He then worked for the carrier in Canada, Hong Kong and Japan before returning to Singapore in 2011 as the founding CEO of Scoot, which he led until 2016.
He also served as the senior vice president of sales and marketing of Singapore Airlines, where he oversaw pricing, distribution, e-commerce, merchandising, brand and marketing, global sales and the airline’s overseas offices, before returning for a second stint as the CEO of Scoot in April 2020.
Through a competitive bidding process, the government in October 2021 sold Air India to Talace Private Limited, a subsidiary of Tata Sons for INR 18,000 crore. Air India was started by the Tata Group in 1932 and the carrier was nationalised in 1953.