‘Best years yet to come’ says Air India CEO Campbell Wilson about airline

Air India’s “best years are yet to come,” according to CEO-designate Campbell Wilson, who said that becoming a world-class airline will necessitate “big and small, easy and difficult” initiatives. Campbell, who will take over as CEO and MD following the Tata Group’s takeover of the airline in January, paid his first visit to the carrier’s headquarters in New Delhi and spoke with top officials.

“Given the length and complexity of the road ahead, we must work hard to keep channels of communication open. Not just with our customers but within and across teams, too.

“For my part, I will start by devoting much of the next few weeks to meeting with as many of you as I can, getting to know you, giving a chance for you to know me, and to listening to what you have to say,” he said in a message to the employees.

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Sources at the airline told PTI that Wilson visited its office and met top executives. In his message, Wilson said he was looking forward to joining after all formalities had been completed.

“This morning, I was proud to walk through the doors of Air India’s New Delhi office for the first time. To be a part of this iconic airline at this historic time in its journey is a rare and exciting privilege,” he said.

Stating that “Air India has always had a very special place in the hearts of travellers — including mine, ever since I flew an Air India 747 for the first time way back in 1995”, he said it is a long and storied legacy that has touched millions, and “to which many of you have contributed years of your working lives.”

“We should rightly celebrate this legacy and these contributions, but we must also have our gaze focussed squarely on the future,” Wilson stated. Noting that he is convinced that Air India’s best years are yet to come, he said, “India’s potential is vast in myriad areas, and you know as well as I the long-term posture and performance culture of Tata Group. You know as well as I that, in any organisation, there are areas that can be improved upon.”

He said that he fully subscribed to the ambition of making Air India a world class-airline, adding, “but the task itself now falls upon us to deliver.”

“Much will be required to reach the heights to which we aspire, and the goal will not be attained overnight. The journey will require efforts big and small, easy and difficult. More than anything else, it will require us to work together and be prepared, where necessary, to evolve,” Wilson said in the letter.

“I want to understand your aspirations for our airline, your thoughts about what we do well, and your views on where we can do better. This will supplement the material already gathered in various workshops and help us set clear directions for this transformation — at once the most exciting and challenging in world aviation today,” he added.

With inputs from PTI