Ilker Ayci is Air India’s new CEO & Managing Director from April 2022

Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2022

MUMBAI, India—Tata Group, the new owner of Air India headquartered in Mumbai, has announced the appointment of Ilker Ayci, the former Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s national carrier, as the new CEO and Managing Director of Air India from 01 April 2022.

Tata Sons Pvt Ltd Chairman N. Chandrasekaran made the surprise announcement on 14 February during their board meeting. Tata Sons is the principal investment holding company and promoter of Tata Group which is made up of 30 companies across 10 verticals and operates in more than 100 countries across six continents. The companies’ combined income in 2020-21 reached  $103 billion. The Tatas recently wholly acquired Air India, the debt-ridden national airline of India, for $2.4 billion.

A close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ayci served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Turkish Airlines from 2015 until his resignation in February 2022.

“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 was born in Istanbul in 1971. He graduated from Bilkent University’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration in 1994. After a research stay in political science at Leeds University in the UK in 1995, he completed a Master’s Degree in International Relations at the Marmara University in Istanbul in 1997.

“I am delighted and honored 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,” said the incoming CEO and MD of Air India.