CUSTOMER IS KING

Qatar 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

Turkish Airlines strives to develop travel experience to an even higher level and considers customer satisfaction an essential value to ensuring that each guest leaves the aircraft with memorable experiences.

Mehmed Zingal
BIOGRAPHY
Working for Turkish Airlines since 2010, Mehmed Zingal started as a Marketing Manager for Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Georgia before moving to Oman, where he held the position of Country Manager. In 2017, he moved to Qatar to represent Turkish Airlines’ operations there.

The growth of Turkish airlines has been extraordinary in the last decade. What have been the major internal drivers?

As a member of Star Alliance, and an award-winning airline, Turkish Airlines takes its strength from its ever-expanding fleet, flight network, and the significant position of Istanbul as a global transfer hub connecting the world. With over 120 countries in its network, Turkish Airlines is the airline with the biggest coverage in the world. It also has ambitious expansion plans to become one of the world's five leading airlines and expand to new destinations. We are flying to more countries than any airline in the world. Moving forward, Turkish Airlines is planning to extend its capacity by moving to Istanbul's new airport. Moreover, 60 wide body aircraft will be acquired in the coming years.

What are some of the current plans to innovate customer experience for Turkish Airlines client base?

Turkish Airlines has been investing heavily in travel experience. The company has been developing steadily in terms of new destinations and aircraft capacity to meet the needs of its wide customer base. Within this scope, investments have been made to offer high-end customer services both on board and at the airport. Turkish Airlines strives to develop the travel experience to an even higher level and considers customer satisfaction an essential value to ensuring that each guest leaves the aircraft with memorable experiences. The new airport will also be adding value to the travel experience in terms of pre-boarding services in a brand-new environment offering high-end airport services.

An important share of the operations of Turkish airlines takes place in the Gulf region. Has the geopolitical landscape of the region affected your operations?

Demand may occasionally vary for some destinations due to seasonal or geopolitical issues, but as a global airline, and at the crossroads of all continents, Turkish Airlines operates flights to more than 300 destinations in more than 120 countries; its operations are conducted according to global demand. Thus, our company adapts its strategies to a sustainable operational activity.

What is the importance of Doha as an air hub for your operations in the Middle East?

Doha and the Middle East in general have been developing through the years to become an important hub. Turkish Airlines operates 14 weekly flights from Doha to Turkey and other international destinations covered by its wide global network. Thus, Doha offers interesting transit market share opportunities for airlines operating in the region.

How do you expect the airline sector to behave in the Middle East in the short-term?

Air traffic in the Middle East has been growing steadily during the last decade. Accordingly, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts a total profit of USD600 million in 2018 for airlines there, above the expectations of 2017, but below 2016 figures. Considering the future of air travel, the Middle East is expected to grow at a higher rate than other big European or American markets.

What is Turkish Airlines' outlook for the year ahead?

With its continuously expanding network of over 300 destinations across more than 120 countries served by more than 320 aircrafts, Turkish Airlines will continue to invest in the development of its network with the delivery of new aircraft in upcoming years. The total number of passengers carried by Turkish Airlines rose by 9.3% to reach 68.6 million in 2017 and in 1Q2018, Turkish Airlines reached its highest quarterly load factor at 80.5%. With the opening of the New Airport in Istanbul, the total number of passengers is targeted to reach 74 million, including 33 million on domestic routes and 41 million on international routes. Accordingly, Turkish Airlines will also be increasing the number of employees, including experienced captains and first officers, who will become a part of the company's continued growth and success.