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Gautam Thakkar Unifi Aviation

Gautam Thakkar

Chief Executive Officer

Unifi Aviation

Location: Atlanta

Founded: 2018

Industry: Aviation

When Gautam Thakkar was appointed CEO of Unifi Aviation in 2021, the company was mired in new challenges that plagued the whole aviation industry. Airlines and carriers were returning with full schedules as people rushed to resume traveling post-COVID. Still, the company, like many of its clients and other workforces, needed more people and resources to support that surge in demand. Coming from the tech world, Thakkar knew that to make Unifi a top aviation service company, it was necessary to leverage emerging technologies and do it fast.

“We had to reignite that passion and energy of aviation that galvanized people to work in the field and we used social media and field marketing to remind them all that travel has to offer,” said Thakkar. “At the same time, we knew we had to make this company a place that supported worker needs, especially after all the world had been through.”

Today, the most critical aspect of Thakkar’s job is shaping the company’s strategy, vision and culture, exemplifying servant leadership and setting clear goals about what the company is trying to accomplish as a business and how it can build the right culture to get there.

Unifi Aviation is an aviation service provider catering to top airlines around the world with a vision to be the most respected company by providing an exceptional experience getting aircrafts and passengers to their destination safely.

With more than 25 years of global experience in IT, business process outsourcing, M&A and complex operations to the world of aviation, Thakkar’s career trajectory has been marked by versatility and success. “Thanks to Gautam’s decision to push the company to modernize and embrace digital innovations to improve service and safety, Unifi’s gained the respect and trust of its customers, the airlines and airports,” said his staff. The firm is now in more than 200 airports and in more than half of those airports, it is providing full handling for the airlines.

Since Thakkar took helm of the company, Unifi has added more than 5,000 new employees and has been awarded nearly 200 new contracts. Unifi was also named service leader of the year for 2023 by Ground Handling Worldwide. This year, Unifi grew significantly, expanding its footprint beyond the United States with operations in Canada and the U.K., while also entering into a joint venture with Alvest Group to form the largest ground support equipment service provider in the U.S.

According to Thakkar, the leadership team motivates him as a leader. “It’s amazing how this very different and accomplished group of individuals, with vastly different backgrounds uphold a shared company culture and execute our business strategy,” he said.

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Did you know?

My superpower is my team and the people I am surrounded with. This leadership team at Unifi Aviation is the most diverse team I have ever led, not only in demographics but in how we approach business. It’s amazing how this very different and accomplished group of individuals, with vastly different backgrounds uphold a shared company culture and execute our business strategy. I rely heavily on them and we debate vigorously. But once a decision is made, they execute like a well oiled machine.


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