Ilker Ayci turns down offer to be new Air India CEO

Ilker Ayci has turned down Tata Son’s offer to be Air India's new CEO. He was previously serving as the Chairman of Turkish Airlines from 2015-2022 and was on the board of the company before that. 

Ilker Ayci appointed as CEO, MD of Air India
Ilker Ayci appointed as CEO, MD of Air India

New Air India CEO: Ilker Ayci, former Chairman of Turkish Airlines, has turned down Tata Son’s offer to be Air India's new CEO. Ayci said in a statement that his reason to opt out of the role was that his appointment was 'coloured' by the Indian media.

Ilker Ayci said in a release, “I have come to the conclusion that it would not be a feasible or an honourable decision to accept the position in the shadow of such a narrative.” This comes days after his appointment led to opposition in the country with RSS questioning the move and asking the government to block his appointment, citing his close relations with Turkish President, a close ally of Pakistan.

Ilker Ayci had previously served as a personal advisor to Turkish president Racep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish President had referred to the issue of Kashmir in his address to world leaders at the UN General Assembly session late last year. The address was condemned by India and termed as "completely unacceptable".

Tata Sons announces Ilker Ayci's appointment

Tata Sons announced that Ilker Ayci has been appointed as the new CEO and MD of Air India on February 14, 2022. The Air India Board decided to approved the appointment of Ilker Ayci as the CEO and MD of Air India after due deliberations. Ilker Ayci was previously serving as the Chairman of Turkish Airlines and was on the board of the company before that. He was scheduled to take charge of his new role on or before April 1, 2022.

About Ilker Ayci

•  Born in Istanbul in 1971, Ilker Ayci is a 1994 alumni of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Bilkent University.

•  He also did research on political science at UK's Leeds University in 1995. He then did International Relations from Marmara University in Istanbul in 1997.

•  He was serving as the Chairman of Turkish Airlines from 2015 to 2022.

•  He has also previously served as the advisor of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 1994.

•  Ilker Ayci expressed delight at being chosen for the post. He said that he is honoured to accept the privilege of leading the iconic airline and join the Tata Group.

•  He said that by working closely with his colleagues at Air India and Tata Group, they will utilize Air India's strong heritage to make it one of the best airlines in the world. 

Air India

Air India was founded by JRD Tata and the airline's history is synonymous with the annals of civil aviation in India. The first-ever Air India flight took off on October 15,  1932. Since then, it has pioneered India's aviation sector and become one of the major international airlines.

Air India has a vast international and domestic network connecting the far-east, south-east Asia, US, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, the Gulf and India's north-east, Ladakh and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands. 

Air India Express was launched as India's first budget international carrier in 2006 to connect smaller towns directly to the Gulf and South East Asia regions.

Air India along with Air India Express has played a major role in evacuating stranded Indians in times of crisis such as the Kuwait Invasion and COVID-19 outbreak. 

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