COME FLY WITH ME

Qatar 2020 | TOURISM & RETAIL | INTERVIEW

With its 30th year celebration of its Miles&Smiles club launch in Qatar, Turkish Airlines is acknowledging its continued diligence to provide the best customer service, with targets to increase customer happiness through innovative technologies and increasing tourism to Qatar for the future.

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.

Turkish Airlines is a highly valued company that strives on quality. What are your main milestones of 2019?
Turkish Airlines currently operates 316 destinations in 126 countries. Some destinations inaugurated in 2019 include Sharjah, Bali, Rovaniemi, Marrakesh, Port Sudan, Luxor, and New Mexico. One of the most important achievements was the move of Turkish Airlines' operations to its new hub, Istanbul Airport. We also celebrated the 30th anniversary of our customer loyalty program, Miles&Smiles, in Qatar.

Turkish Airlines prides itself on its highly valued customer service and customer satisfaction. What are your next steps in regards to innovating customer service?
Passengers' requirements have evolved throughout the years, but their satisfaction and comfort have been at the heart of our operations since 1933. With the world moving digital, and customers' demand for facilitation at every step, our mobile app enables passengers to manage all their trip requirements in a safe, secure, and timely manner. The application is user-friendly and tailored to our passenger's preference based on search engine history; additionally, it enables passengers to access their Miles&Smiles and redeem privileges. Another critical solution we have implemented is extended RFID baggage tracking, which informs customers when their baggage is dropped on the carousel. It was introduced to allow passengers to enjoy other airport facilities, such as duty-free shops and cafes, instead of waiting at baggage claim.
What are Turkish Airlines' main areas of focus?
Innovation is key to increasing standards. We are actively conducting over 500 R&D studies in our information technology center. In terms of flight network, Turkish Airlines has been expanding its network by launching flights to new destinations in Japan and China, as well as the US. Moreover, Turkish Airlines has been developing its fleet. It received six B-787 jets in 2019, and five A350 jets will be delivered in 2020. For the summer season, we will upgrade our first flight from Doha to A330 and will operate a second flight with our new A321 NEO.

How is Turkish Airlines working to attract a bigger share of passengers to visit Qatar?
Qatar and Turkey enjoy unique bilateral relations, which has helped Turkish companies and entrepreneurs to choose Qatar as their go-to destination for business. Qatar National Vision 2030 is a strategic vision, with one of its focuses on the tourism sector. The country has a rich calendar full of business, networking, and festive events. Additionally, Qatar's international presence has played a vital role in promoting the country as a destination for business and investments. Within this framework, our wide network throughout the world and high-end services offered all through the journey is an asset for promoting the country as a destination. The number of visitors to Qatar is rising year by year, and Turkish Airlines operations have played a role in this.

How would you assess the health of the aviation sector in Qatar, and what are your expectations for the sector in the next coming years?
The aviation and transport sector in Qatar has had great development and growth over the past couple of years, under the direction of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The competition is relatively high in this market; thus, our hospitality, connectivity, and high-end services has allowed us to achieve customer satisfaction. The market looks prominent in the years to come, with major international forums and events queued up.

What is your outlook for the upcoming year?
Turkish Airlines aims to continue growing, not only in terms of number of destinations, but also in frequencies and connectivity. Our 2023 targets are 120 million passengers and 500 aircraft in the fleet. We will also continue to grow in cargo. The new airport will allow us to move 2 million tons by 2023, as one of our strategic goals is to be one of top five air cargo companies.