Mumbai: Tata Sons announced Monday the appointment of former chairman of Turkish Airlines Ilker Ayci as the CEO and MD of Air India. “The Air India board met this afternoon to consider the candidature of Ilker Ayci. After due deliberations the board approved the appointment of Ayci as the CEO & MD of Air India,” Tata Sons said in a statement. Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran was a special invitee to this board meeting, it added.
Ayci will assume his new responsibilities on or before April 1 this year, it said. The statement also added that Ayci’s appointment to the new position is subject to requisite regulatory approvals.
Tatas regained ownership of Air India late last month, nearly seven decades after it lost control to the government.
“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,” said Chandrasekaran.
Ayci is 1994 alumni of Bilkent University. After a research stay on political science at the Leeds University in the UK in 1995, he completed a Master’s Programme in International Relations from Istanbul’s Marmara University in 1997, according to the statement.
“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 utilise 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,” said Ayci in the same statement.
After a competitive bidding process, the government had October 8 last year sold Air India to Talace Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Tata Group’s holding company, for Rs 18,000 crore.
Tatas beat the Rs 15,100-crore offer by a consortium led by SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh and the reserve price of Rs 12,906 crore set by the government for the sale of its 100 per cent stake in the loss-making carrier.
Air India was started by the Tata Group in 1932. However, after the country got independence, it was nationalised in 1953.