What does the Qatari market represent for Turkish Airlines?
Economic and cultural relations between Qatar and Turkey have been growing in recent years, and within this framework, Turkish Airlines' global network and high-end services offered all through the journey showed an asset for promoting both countries as a destination. Furthermore, Turkish Airlines and its hub in Istanbul stand as a gateway to the world from Qatar for business or leisure purposes as well.
Qatar and Turkey enjoy excellent business relations across many sectors. How do you assess this partnership?
Qatar and Turkey enjoy unique bilateral relations, which has helped Turkish companies and entrepreneurs to choose Qatar as one of their go-to destination for business. Furthermore, Qatar has also its focuses on the tourism sector, and the country has a rich calendar in terms of business, networking, and festive events. The aviation and transportation sector in Qatar has had great development and growth over the last few years, and the competition is relatively high in this market. Turkish Airlines' hospitality, connectivity, and high-end services have received excellent feedback in terms of customer satisfaction. The market looks promising in the years to come, with major international forums and events queued up, such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
What is your growth strategy for the air cargo division, which seems to become more important every day?
Turkish Cargo, the global air cargo brand, has been carrying out the air cargo transportation operations of Turkish Airlines. Having the widest air cargo aircraft network in the world, Turkish Cargo now offers air cargo services to 95 direct freighter destinations. Besides, Turkish Cargo is making use of the passenger flight network of the parent brand Turkish Airlines, which is in the leading position in the world; thus, cargo is being carried to more than 300 destinations by means of passenger aircraft. Turkish Cargo offers one of the best solutions in terms of air and land transport, both domestically and internationally, to meet the needs of its customers and industry partners. Within this framework, Turkish Cargo aims to become one of the top five air cargo brands in the world by 2023. Our brand, which aspires to redefine Istanbul, the intersection point of air cargo traffic, as the logistics center in the world, continues to be preferred for the air cargo transportation by ensuring a sustainable growth thanks to its infrastructure, operational capability, and fleet as well as its highly qualified staff members.
What impact has the pandemic had on the digitalization of the aviation industry?
We conducted R&D studies and pilot projects in emerging technology areas such as AI, augmented/virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and blockchain. With the Turkish Airlines Chatbot, Boti, our passengers were provided with the opportunity to inquire about flights, view flight prices, inquire about flight status, check-in assistant, access a mobile boarding pass, airport maps, and campaign inquiries via WhatsApp. We continued to support the work carried out at the IATA AIR Think Tank, which sets standards that will shape the future of airline retail and works together to develop new initiatives in this field. Aiming to optimize the direction finding experience of our passengers at airports, we presented interactive terminal maps of Istanbul Airport, Sabiha Gökçen Airport, and Adnan Menderes Airport to the service of our passengers in the Turkish Airlines Mobile Application.
What are your strategic priorities for 2021?
With the launch of Istanbul Airport in 2018, Turkish Airlines has started operating through its new hub, which is at the crossroads of all continents and offers one of the best high-end technologies in terms of travel experience. Our company has then been developing its activities to maintain its position of being one of the most preferred airlines in the world.