'Not Feasible': Ilker Ayci Declines Tata Sons' Offer To Be New CEO of Air India

This development comes days after Ilker Ayci's appointment was announced, leading to opposition in India.

2 min read
Edited By :Tejas Harad

Former Turkish Airlines Chairperson Ilker Ayci, on Tuesday, 1 March, turned down Tata Sons' offer to be the new chief executive officer (CEO) of Air India.

This development comes days after his name was announced for the post and subsequent opposition to his appointment in India.

Stating that since the announcement, some sections of the Indian media have been “attempting to colour my appointment with undesirable colours,” Ayci said:

“As a business leader who has always prioritised professional credo and more importantly, the happiness and well being of my family above all else, I have come to the conclusion that it would not be feasible or an honourable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such narrative.”

Ayci, a Turkish citizen, who was the CEO of Turkish Airlines from 2015 to 2021, had been appointed as the CEO and Managing Director of Air India on 14 February.

He was to assume responsibilities on or before 1 April.


Opposition to Ayci

Ayci began his career in 1994 and was assigned several positions in Kurtsan Ilaclar A.S., Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Universal Dis Ticaret A.S.

He was also the adviser of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then mayor of Istanbul.

In view of Ayci's political ties in Turkey, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch had asked the government to “seriously look into his credentials.”

Speaking to The Hindu, the group's co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said that his organisation did not support the appointment, due to issues of “national security.”

“I think the government is already very sensitive to the issue and has taken up the matter very seriously. I don’t think the approval [by the government] will come,” he reportedly added.

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officials had said that they would verify Ayci's background.

(With inputs from The Hindu and Reuters.)

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Edited By :Tejas Harad
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