Robert Ayling

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Robert John (Bob) Ayling (born 3 August 1946) is a British businessman who has worked with a variety of high-profile companies and organisations. From 1996 to 2000, he was the CEO of British Airways.

Ayling was educated at King's College School, Wimbledon.[1]


Ayling, a lawyer, began his career as a solicitor in private practice before joining the Department of Trade and Industry in 1973. In 1985, he joined British Airways (BA), initially as Legal Director, but went on to hold a series of senior management positions including that of Director of Marketing and Operations.[2]

Ayling was Group Managing Director and then Chief Executive of British Airways from 1996 to 2000.[3] A key policy of Ayling's time as CEO was the pursuit of a merger and establishment of a strategic alliance with American Airlines and BA’s investment in Iberia. In 1998, BA announced the establishment of its low-cost carrier, Go. Ayling was also the promoter of BA’s London Eye project for the Millennium. In 2000, he was replaced at BA by Rod Eddington.

Ayling was initially appointed a non-executive Director of Holidaybreak Plc, the specialist holiday and activity group,[4] in February 2003, before becoming Chairman in June 2003.[5] He retired from this role in April 2009 after serving two three-year terms.[6]


  1. ^ Biography Robert John Ayling,
  2. ^ Article about Robert Ayling's role in BA management, 1993
  3. ^ Article by Robert Ayling in 1997 while chief executive of British Airways
  4. ^ "Ayling takes over at HolidayBreak", Telegraph, Published: 8:54AM GMT 2 Dec 2002.
  5. ^ "DIRECTORATE CHANGE". Investegate. 2003-06-03. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  6. ^ "Holidaybreak: Annual Report and Financial Statements". Holidaybreak. 2010. Retrieved 2014-06-22.