Emre Ismailoglu, General Manager, Dubai And Northern Emirates, Turkish Airlines
As the fastest growing airline flying to the highest number of destinations, Turkish Airlines continues to impress discerning travellers with new innovations, trends and comfort on the ground and inflight. We meet with Emre Ismailoglu, General Manager, Dubai And Northern Emirates, Turkish Airlines for his take on the travel industry during the pandemic and ways he and his team strive to offer travellers luxury laced safe flight experiences.
How would you evaluate COVID precautions last year for Turkish Airlines and your expectations this year?
Like other airlines around the globe, Turkish Airlines experienced similar challenges but we had positive demand from the GCC region. We have focused ourselves on making our pre-flight and on-board experience safe with award winning procedures for cleaning and sanitisation. We launched a new hygiene programme “TK Extra Care”, which highlights new protective hygiene measures, in collaboration with the global carrier’s ambassador Dr. Mehmet Oz, the producer and host of the world-renowned “The Dr. Oz Show.”
We expect travel to improve this year as we intend to keep the level of safety in travel at the same momentum. We meticulously implement comprehensive precautions in order to continue providing a healthy and safe travel experience for our passengers. In fact, we achieved the Diamond status by APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying for numerous criteria such as touch-free check-in process, implementation of social distancing, temperature measuring at entrances, Covid-19 test service at the airport, extra hygiene precautions, in-flight social distancing, hygiene expert cabin crews appointed in flights and hygiene kits offered to passengers.
What market trends and changes have you noticed in 2021, and how do they impact the airline industry?
The year started on a positive note for many with hopes for the airline industry opening up but it has been slower than what we expected. As an Airline we focus our energy on elements of travel that we can work and improve on during this period like enhancing the travel experience when the world opens up. We remind travellers of the airline’s hygiene protocols necessary for a safe flying experience and our team is enforcing a higher level of protection for every stage of the journey that goes above and beyond industry standards.
We also keep our USPs energised such as providing a safe environment at our award-winning lounge, having an art exhibition at the Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge to life the spirit of the travellers, using fleet with upgraded interiors, ease of booking, in-flight services etc. so that travellers get motivated to return to us.
Are flights within the Turkish Airline’s European network from Istanbul still strong this year?
We feel that travellers today want to travel safely and connect with the cultural and human elements of new destinations and our hub gives them that opportunity within a new upgraded airport that takes all precautions for safe travel.
We do well as we are not too far from the GCC countries as to ensure borders do not shut down unexpectedly,and we have very positive feedbacks from our guests travelling with Turkish Airlines because of its strategic position at the crossroads of continents. P people plan for short trips, often over the weekend so the opportunity for local economies to thrive remains. From our side, we make this possible with more flight options, greater connectivity and optimising on Istanbul’s many attractions beautiful palaces, mosques, museums and retail havens.
Turkish Airlines ranked first in Europe with an average of 684 daily flights from April 1 to April 14, by the European Organization for Air Navigation Safety (Eurocontrol). We are the busiest airline in the Eurocontrol Network and according to the data, Istanbul Airport is the top airport with 604 daily departures, while another airport in Istanbul, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, ranked sixth with 345 daily flights.
How is Turkish Airlines staying ahead of other airlines during the pandemic?
Expectations for personalization and experiential travel that is safe has become a norm. Most sectors with a digital presence are tailoring products and services to match consumer preferences and tastes.
We continue to distribute “Hygiene Kits,” containing a face mask, disinfectant and antiseptic tissue to guests, while “Hygiene Expert” cabin crews are appointed to flights to enforce all on-board hygiene and social distancing measures for the healthy travel of passen.
Turkish Airlines remains a favourite with GCC travellers as a great way to connect with several countries in Europe. Are you doing anything special for travellers agents and tour operators in the region? Expectations for personalization and experiential travel that is safe has become a norm. Most sectors with a digital presence are tailoring products and services to match consumer preferences and tastes.
We continue to distribute “Hygiene Kits,” containing a face mask, disinfectant and antiseptic tissue to guests, while “Hygiene Expert” cabin crews are appointed on flights to enforce all on-board hygiene and social distancing measures for the healthy travel of passengers.
We have remained in contact with all our stakeholders and have managed to become one of the busiest airlines during the pandemic. We assure all our agents and partners passengers about our extra guidelines for safe travel and comprehensive hygiene precautions due to pandemic and that we have been awarded the highest “Diamond” status by APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying.
We offer unlimited changing rights to ensure that our passengers enjoy their travel experience maximum peace of mind. Flexible Travel opportunities are offered until March 31, 2022 (inclusive), for tickets bought until December 31, 2021 (inclusive)
As we are a member of The Star Alliance network, it helps agents feel comfortable about our worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to their customers and other international travellers.
What is currently popular in Turkey that GCC travellers can look forward to in terms of new routes?
Istanbul is easily reachable from the Middle East but we find more demand now for our smaller cities as well such as Izmir, Bodrum and Antalya. We continue to work on the potential of new international and regional routes and strengthen our network. GCC travellers can look forward to our enhanced brand of luxury, rewarding experiences and a seamless airport experience that offers excellent retail and world class luxury lounge option at the new Istanbul Airport.