Turkish Airlines continues to participate at the Arabian Travel Market not only to enhance brand awareness but to establish stronger connections with its partners, according to Emre Ismailoglu, Turkish Airlines general manager for Dubai and Northern Emirates.
"It is a good platform to make new connections with in the industry and built on future partnerships. The event allows us to highlight our new features, ranging from our catering to our exclusive drive service, and our world-class products."
Ismailoglu was speaking to TTN on the sidelines of the Istanbul Tulip Festival, which ran from March 29 and April 1. The airline had invited more than 250 professionals from across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), to celebrate the 12th edition of the festival.
"Our plans for ATM which includes showcasing our world class products along with the participation of senior leadership from Turkish Airlines. We are also looking to submit a report dedicated to the industry which will reveal some industry insights and statistics."
Excerpts of the interview...
120 countries in the network, congratulations – what is the aim for 2017 and beyond?
We have continuously been adding new flights and increasing our passenger capacity to meet the growing customer demands in all of our markets. The GCC market in specific has been one of the key markets for the airlines and has experienced a healthy growth each year.
As a network carrier, one of the primary strategies of us is continuously extend our network so that we can easily meet the increasing passenger demand from all around the world and continue to reach to the much more destinations of the world than any other worldwide airline.
Our growth plans is directly connected to our expansion plans in terms of the number of fleet. By end of 2016, we had a fleet of 299 aircraft flying to 282 destinations globally which have increased to 336 aircraft reaching 296 destinations by end of March 2017. We aim to build on this expansion to reach the largest number of both fleet and targeted destinations by end of 2017. Our aim by end of 2021 is to have a total number of 442 aircrafts, which will help us as we look to continue our expansion into reaching new destinations.
Turkish Airlines remains a favourite with GCC travellers as a great way to connect with several countries in Europe.
Our network expansion is appealing for GCC commuters, even though we are a European airline, the highest number of originating destinations we have is from the Middle East.
Our hub in Istanbul makes us different from other airlines in the GCC. Europe is closer to us and can be reached with our narrow-body aircraft; many parts of Africa too can be reached with narrow-body aircraft. North America is accessible with smaller wide-body aircraft.
Additionally, we offer the highest standards of service and real genuine Turkish hospitality and seamless service both on and off the ground, which we are well-known for.
Are you doing anything special for travel agents and tour operators in the region? Will they have any benefit doing group bookings with you?
Our agency partnerships have been crucial to achieving our growth-based goals. It is our top most priority to maintain these successful relationships with them throughout all the markets and stay consistent with our long-term collaboration with them.
Every year we schedule to have annual Travel Agency Awards followed by a gala dinner, to recognise our travel agents throughout the GCC region and showcasing our appreciation to them for being an intrinsic part of the airline’s advancement. Plaques of appreciation are also awarded during these events for the best performing agents.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.