Former Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci appointed as CEO & MD of Air India
Mumbai, February 14, 2022
Former Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci was today appointed as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Air India, which was sold by the Government to the Tata Group a few weeks ago as part of the disinvestment programme.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Air India board this afternoon which considered the candidature of Ayci.
Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran was a special invitee to the board meeting.
"The board, after due deliberations, approved the appointment of Mr Ayci as the CEO & Managing Director of Air India. This appointment is subject to requisite regulatory approvals," a press release from the Tata Group said.
"Until very recently, Mr Ayci was the chairman of Turkish Airlines, prior to which he was on the board of directors of the company," it said.
Chandrasekaran said, “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.”
Ayci will assume his responsibilities on or before April 1, 2022.
Ayci was born in Istanbul in 1971. He is a 1994 alumni of Bilkent University’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration. After a research stay in political science at the Leeds University in the UK in 1995, he completed a Master’s programme in International Relations 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.
The disinvestment of Air India meant that the airline went back to the Tatas after more than six decades. The Government completed the strategic disinvestment of the airline on January 27 when it received a consideration of Rs 2,700 crore from Talace Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons.
The Government had, on October 8, 2021, announced that Talace, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up by Tata Sons, had emerged as the highest bidder for the airline with a winning bid of Rs 18,000 crore as enterprise value (EV), marking the end of a long and protracted disinvestment saga.
The transaction is for 100 per cent shares of Air India along with its shareholding in Air India Express (AIXL) and AISATS. It does not include non-core assets including land and building, valued at Rs 14,718 crore, which are to be transferred to the Government's Air India Asset Holding Limited (AIAHL).
Out of the Rs 18,000 crore, Talace has retained Rs 15,300 crore as debt, while the rest has been paid to the Centre as the cash component.
The Tatas had launched the airline way back in 1932 as Tata Airlines and operated it for two decades before it was nationalised in 1953.
The Government had, on October 8, 2021, announced that Talace, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up by Tata Sons, had emerged as the highest bidder for the airline with a winning bid of Rs 18,000 crore as enterprise value (EV), marking the end of a ong and protracted disinvestment saga.
Founded by the legendary JRD Tata, Air India has pioneered India’s aviation sector and the airline's history is, in fact, synonymous with the annals of civil aviation in India.
Since its first flight on October 15, 1932, Air India has spread its wings to become a major international airline with a network across USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Far-East, South-East Asia, Australia and the Gulf.
The airline also has an extensive domestic network, including far-flung areas of India’s North-East, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Air India has been a member of Star Alliance, the largest global airline consortium, since July 2014.
India's first international budget carrier, Air India Express was launched in 2005 to meet the need for affordable services on short and medium-haul routes, connecting smaller towns directly to the Gulf and southeast Asia regions.