The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will “scrupulously” carry out a thorough background check of newly appointed CEO and MD of Air India, Ilker Ayci, a Turkish national, official sources said on Sunday, February 20.
The Tata Group, which acquired Air India from the government, had recently announced Ayci’s appointment as the CEO and MD of the loss-making airlines.
The Home Ministry “scrupulously” carries out a thorough background check of all foreign nationals when they are appointed in the key positions of any Indian company, the sources said. It will be the same process for the newly appointed CEO and MD too, they said.
However, the MHA has not yet received any communication on Ayci from either the Tata group or the Civil Aviation Ministry, the nodal ministry. Once communication is received, the whole process of security clearance will begin, the sources said.
Since Ayci is a Turkish national, the MHA is expected to take help from the external intelligence agency, R&AW, for his background check.
Aycı was an advisor of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when the latter was mayor of Istanbul, from 1994 to 1998. He had served Turkish Airlines as its chairman from 2015 to 2022 and was credited with turning the airline around.
Ayci has degrees in political science and public administration from Bilkent University. He has also done masters in international relations from Marmara University in Istanbul.
The Tata Group took complete control of Air India from the government, nearly 69 years after it was taken from the conglomerate. The government had last October 8 sold Air India to Talace Private – a subsidiary of the Tata Group’s holding company – for INR 18,000 crore following a competitive bidding process.