General Manager Turkish Airlines talks to Centreline & DNA
Yunus Mert, the General Manager of Turkish Airlines gave an exclusive interview to Centreline and DNA news agency. Mr. Mert talked in detail about Turkish Airlines operations and various incentives the Airline was offering to passengers. The Airline has designed special packages for the business community also. Here are excerpts from the interivew.
Ansar Mahmood Bhatti /DNA
- Turkish Airlines, within a very short period of time, has become one of the most popular airlines in Pakistan. What is the secret of your success in Pakistan?
We attribute our success to three things; commitment towards our customers, relentless efforts despite odd situations and superior service quality. In addition, our love towards Pakistan as our brother country is reflected in our endeavors. In a short span of time we have assessed market trends and designed tailor-made strategies for our people. We bring personal touch in our service delivery and that is well defused in this market.
- Are you planning to expand flight operations in Pakistan and what is the current fleet position and operational capacity of Turkish Airlines?
There is no doubt that Pakistan is a very lucrative aviation industry which has very high big potential. Of course we would like to connect more cities between two countries but in short term we do not have a definitive plan to further expand the operations. Currently we are operating wide body aircrafts A330 and operating daily flights from Islamabad and Lahore, while two daily flights from Karachi.
- A Turkish airline has offered some incentives to especially businessmen. Can you please share the details of these incentives?
Turkish Airlines has tailor made product for corporate companies. We call it “Turkish Corporate Club”. It is an attractive package full of discounts, excess baggage, pre-boarding benefits etc. All these incentives are provided to help businesses streamline their cost and control their annual spending on traveling. Very recently, we have signed an MOU with Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry to bring them on board. Turkish Corporate Club comprise of fortune 500 companies working in Pakistan and covers SMEs and other industries as well.
- There is a perception about Pakistan that from security point of view it is not a safe country but that now you have spent quite some time here, how do you assess the security situation and business environment?
In my perspective, Pakistan is a beautiful and safe country. Ever since I have been here security situation is a lot better. Pakistan is land of opportunities with conducive business environment for foreign investors. It is a fact the business climate in Pakistan has shown tremendous improvement. So far, more than half of the multinationals are operating in Pakistan which is a promising figure for all of us. When it comes to business then Pakistan stands at a better position as compared to the other 10 regional countries. Personally I consider Pakistan as my own country, therefore, I do not see any serious security problem.
- Do you take competition as a threat or a challenge? How well-equipped are you to cope with these threats or challenges?
Competition is always healthy for survival and serves as a motivating factor for us. We are one of the fastest growing airline in the world and we hope to continue with the same spirit. Globally, we have a positive reputation for reliability, for service, for quality. We are converting any potential threats into opportunities and exploit the growth and expansion wherever possible.
- If you could share your views on the open skies policy of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority?
Open sky policy implemented by Civil Aviation Authority in Pakistan seems to be positive endeavor to regulate and promote civil aviation activities and to develop an infrastructure for efficient and properly coordinated air transport service in Pakistan.
This undoubtedly is the first step to make operations framework more attractive for the airlines of other countries and making aviation industry more lucrative in Pakistan.
The execution of new air service agreements will definitely boost Pakistan economy by increasing massive flow of passenger numbers through Pakistan airports as well create more employment opportunities due to increased efforts towards maintenance of airport infrastructure. Moreover, this serves as an unprecedented opportunity for global and regional aviation business entrepreneurs and thus making Pakistan attractive for foreign investors.
- Turkish Airlines is rated as Europe’s best airline. What factors have led your Airline to maintain its leading position in Europe?
Turkish Airlines over the period of time transformed into a global powerhouse in the international aviation industry. Today, we are one of the industry’s largest carrier serving 291 cities in 116 countries. So we fly to more countries than any other airline in the world.
Turkish Airlines proudly takes the claim of having the biggest single hub network of non-stop destinations. The Star Alliance carrier has now built a significant lead at Istanbul Ataturk Airport over its competitors and looks likely to remain the spearhead for the foreseeable future. Turkish Airlines enjoys the best location as far its Hub is considered.
Owing to the ideal geographical position of its hub, Turkish Airlines is able to cut cost unlike other European carriers. Whilst adding many destinations to its huge network every years, it remains the fastest growing airlines in Europe and worldwide.
- Would you like to add something more?
I would like to express my happiness to live in Pakistan and to see all the beauty here. This a lifetime experience. I also feel myself to be lucky that I have made friendships with our Pakistani brothers. I would take this opportunity to advise to all Pakistani brothers and sisters to see Istanbul, I assure them they will not regret it.