Ex Turkish Airlines’ Honcho İlker Aycı appointed as new CEO and MD of Air India

After many rumours of names such as Alex Cruz becoming the CEO of the privatised Air India, we finally know who will be appointed as the CEO and Managing Director of Air India. And it is none of the names that were brought up so far.

İlker Aycı appointed as new CEO and MD of Air India

Tata Sons today announced that Mr Ilker Ayci has been appointed the CEO & MD of Air India.

The Air India board met this afternoon to consider the candidature of Mr Ilker Ayci. Mr N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, was a special invitee to this board meeting. The board, after due deliberations, approved the appointment of Mr Ilker Ayci as the CEO & MD of Air India. Mr Ayci is expected to join Air India on or before April 1, 2022.

Until very recently, Mr Ilker Ayci, was the Chairman of Turkish Airlines and he was on the board of the company prior to that. In fact, he only resigned from the company on January 26, 2022, a day before Air India’s privatisation was completed.

Mr Ilker Ayci was born in Istanbul in 1971. He 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. İlker Aycı was an executive board member of Turkish Airlines until April 2015, when he was appointed as chairman of the airline.

Mr N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of the Tata Group, said,

Ilker is an aviation industry leader who led Turkish Airlines to its current success during his tenure there. We are delighted to welcome lIker to the Tata Group where he would lead Air India into the new era.

On this occasion, Mr Ilker Ayci said

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.

Ilker does fit the bill on many counts for Air India. Turkish is a full-service network carrier and has a global footprint for one. Second, Ilker is low key, unlike his middle-east colleagues, so he can put his head down and get to work. Third, he knows the chops of managing a full-service carrier. Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines, established in 1933, flies to 334 worldwide destinations in 128 countries with a fleet of 373 aircraft. Although, as I mentioned in my previous post on the topic, Air India needs a whole bunch of specialists to turn it around, and Ilker is just one of the many.

What do you think of Ilker Ayci’s Appointment to Air India?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Turkish airlines is very good in hospitality and terrible in customer service. They are terrible even though the CSR try to be helpful.

    I hope he hires a customer service professional from the US to improve customer facing roles.

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