Weeks after taking over the control of Air India, Tata Sons, the new owners of the former national carrier, has announced to onboard Ilker Ayci as the first Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Air India. He will assume his responsibilities on or before 1st April 2022.
“The Air India board met this afternoon to consider the candidature of Ilker Ayci. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, was a special invitee to this board meeting. The board after due deliberations approved the appointment of Ilker Ayci as the CEO & MD of Air India. This appointment is subject to requisite regulatory approvals,” Tata Group said.
According to Tata Group, Ilker Ayci, till recently, was the chairman of Turkish Airlines and he was on the board of the company prior to that. “Ilker is an aviation industry leader who led Turkish Airlines to its current success during his tenure there. We are delighted to welcome Ilker to the Tata Group where he would lead Air India into the new era,” N Chandrasekaran said in a statement.
Ayci was born in Istanbul in 1971 and is 1994 alumni of Bilkent University's Department of Political Science and Public Administration. After a research stay on political science at the Leeds University in the UK in 1995, he completed an International Relations Master's program at the Marmara University in Istanbul in 1997.
“I am delighted and honoured to accept the privilege of leading an iconic airline and to join the Tata Group. Working closely with my colleagues at Air India and the leadership of the Tata Group, we will utilize the strong heritage of Air India to make it one of the best airlines in the world with a uniquely superior flying experience that reflects Indian warmth and hospitality,” Ayci said on his joining the Tata backed Air India.
According to industry observers, Turkish Airlines has until recently improved a lot and has also planned its network and positioned itself as an alternative to Gulf carriers like Emirates, Etihad and Qatar.
Meanwhile, top sources believe that Tata Group was not left with many options as expats are wary of working in India. “A very large number of expats are not interested in coming to India for work especially after the second wave of the coronavirus. Hence, many expats may not have been interested in coming to India to work,” a top source said.