October - December 2017
General Manager, North & East India, Turkish Airlines
With the number of Indian travellers consistently growing, Turkish Airlines hopes to develop its operations further to tap the potential market. Ozer Guler, general manager of Turkish Airlines (north and east India) talks about the success of the airlines in India.
Since Turkish Airlines started operating from India, how has the growth been?
Turkish Airlines launched its operations in India with flights to and from New Delhi in the year 2003. Services to New Delhi started on September 18, 2003 and were further expanded to Mumbai from May 5, 2006. We have daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai and hope to develop our activities further in the near future. We fly to 299 destinations worldwide that makes us large in terms of our reach. Our wide network is a gateway to almost every destination in the world for business and leisure travellers. Our flights from India run on maximum occupancy as overall India outbound traffic is growing significantly. In this regard, we strive to offer the best services and tariffs to our Indian passengers. Moreover, in the Indian market, a growing interest in luxury travel is also being noticed and we will be continuing our efforts to adapt our related products and services to the needs of the developing Indian tourism sector.
What type of passengers do you get from the various cities Turkish Airlines connects? Are they mostly leisure travellers?
Turkish Airlines flies from two cities in India – New Delhi and Mumbai, the profile of our passengers largely comprises business travellers, leisure travellers, families and travel enthusiasts. However, considering our wide network, there is always a higher number of business travellers joining Turkish Airlines for the services offered in terms of network convenience and high-end quality of services from check-in counter to in-flight services.
How do you plan to fly people from other cities in a more seamless way?
Turkish Airlines has a strong client base across India and hosts a great number of passengers from cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Lucknow, etc., who travel with us regularly. With increasing global network, the client base from India is also getting stronger. Due to competitive fares and global connectivity, Turkish Airlines do attract important traffic from other cities as well.
How is the competition within the Indian market?
Turkish Airlines is a 4-star airline today with a fleet of 338 (passenger and cargo) aircraft. With our motto ‘Widen your World’, we ensure seamless connectivity. Our guests love our on-board Turkish hospitality, which we constantly strive to improve with innovative products based on regular feedback from our customers. India’s civil aviation industry is on a high growth trajectory and there is healthy competition from foreign airlines. We are working on differentiating ourselves through our services and large network proposition. Turkish Airlines was awarded for the sixth year in a row by Skytrax as the ‘Best Airline in Europe’ and ‘Best Airline in Southern Europe’ for the eighth consecutive time. This is a major accomplishment for our airline and one that we are very proud of. Winning these titles is a reflection of the satisfaction of air travellers who choose to fly with Turkish Airlines. The awards and accolades also help us shine amidst competition and inspire us to grow even more.
How does Turkish Airlines contribute in promoting Turkey as a destination, especially in India?
Turkish Airlines is the national flag carrier airline of Turkey and we continue with our endeavour to promote Turkey as a destination. As part of our global mandate we host Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup, the famous amateur golf tournament around the world. All finalists are flown to Antalya, Turkey in Business Class by Turkish Airlines. Through this, we present to our corporate guests Turkish Airlines’ wide range of service offering to business travellers and give them an experiential approach to Turkey and the company as well.
We regularly host Turkish food festivals in India to give a glimpse of Turkish food and culture. We encourage people to travel to Turkey by introducing special holiday fares and student discounts on our flights to Turkey. We participate in various travel, trade, and tourism roadshows in the country to create awareness for Turkey as a destination. In the last few years, Bollywood has shot a number of movies in Turkey and Turkish serials are getting extremely popular in India. With all these, there has been a significant increase in the number of Indian travellers to Turkey. We have also introduced special services like ‘touristanbul’, a unique way of discovering Istanbul especially for passengers in transit. Anyone who flies through Istanbul and has at least six hours waiting time is welcomed to ‘touristanbul’.
What are the plans to add more direct flights between Indian cities and Istanbul?
With rising income levels, passenger air traffic in India is expected to increase considerably by 2020. We will keep focusing on promoting India across our network. With high demand and great potential of growth in India, we will be considering new opportunities to develop our operations throughout the country in terms of new destinations as well as increase frequency in the near future.
Is there any critical challenge in operating from India?
India is a country of diversity offering cultural richness as well beauty of landscapes and is a country close to our heart. We are looking forward to developing our activities with the help of our travel and tourism partners in the region and bring India even closer to the world. We don’t see any big challenge, and we are very hopeful and upbeat about our future operations in India.