Air Travel News
Update: Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines’ CIP Lounge at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
© Courtesy of Turkish Airlines.
Executive Travel sits down with Fatma Yuceler to learn how the airline is pushing the boundaries of luxury travel.
Have your new U.S. routes met expectations? Do you plan to add more?
Our new U.S. routes have far exceeded our original goals and expectations! Routes from Washington, D.C., launched in November of 2010, and since then, we’ve expanded as far as Los Angeles. Both cities already offer daily flights in response to the high demand. Next on the agenda is service from Houston, projected for April of 2013, and we feel confident that this will be another rousing success for Turkish Airlines. Houston will be joining our family of U.S. gateways in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago, all of which are now offering direct, nonstop flights to Istanbul.
This is really an exciting, groundbreaking time for Turkish Airlines. We currently fly to over 200 destinations, and we are continuing to push into markets in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas in order to meet the demands of our global clientele.
What can North American business travelers expect from the onboard experience?
We are constantly striving to bring luxury and glamour to the flying experience, and we have especially focused on our Business Class. With Turkish Airlines, the pampering begins even before they step on the plane, in our luxurious lounges. Our transatlantic Boeing 777 flights feature high-speed Wi-Fi broadband Internet access and Live TV, in addition to the amenity kit that doubles as an iPad case. Also, Business Class passengers are treated to award-winning gourmet cuisine prepared under the supervision of our in-flight “Flying Chefs,” featuring a variety of delicious Turkish meals and international delicacies.
We just featured your Istanbul lounge in a web slide show. Can you talk about what that lounge offers travelers that is unique?
The lounge is where the entire experience begins. We’ve crafted a beautiful, comfortable atmosphere where passengers can decompress before their flight. In the lounge—open to Business Class travelers, Miles&Smiles Elite and Elite Plus members, and Star Alliance Gold card members—they can shoot pool in the billiards room, take in a film in the in-lounge movie theater or dine on traditional Turkish foods and refreshments. Passengers can finish up work in the business center or unwind in the private relaxation rooms, massage chairs or gender-based prayer rooms. There are even playrooms for the kids. The lounge has exceeded our expectations: It’s always packed, and passengers are enjoying themselves too much to leave to catch their flights!
Is the North American traveler you target going to Turkey or beyond?
Our Istanbul hub is rapidly becoming both an end destination and a key global connecting point for international travelers. The demand for flights to Turkey has grown dramatically recently as it becomes the hotspot to travel to. However, with more than 200 global destinations, Istanbul is also convenient for travelers to use as a connecting point.
Are you active in green or biofuel initiatives?
Absolutely. We are very sensitive to the environment and our global footprint. As a general rule, we recognize that we must be more socially responsible and continue to find new environmentally friendly initiatives. We were the first to participate in GE Aviation’s scrap reclamation program aimed at recycling hardware containing rhenium. Through the program, we collect the scrap metal that contains rhenium and return it to GE Aviation for them to melt it down for reuse. This past April, we partnered with the General Directorate of Forestry to plant a million trees in various forests in Turkey. A sapling will be planted for each child under the age of two traveling on Turkish Airlines. This is just another way that we are doing our part as a global company to help ensure the health of Turkish forests for future generations.
What is your greatest challenge in growth?
In the face of fast growth, we need to make sure that our top-tier-quality standards remain intact. We hold ourselves to the highest expectations in terms of consistently delivering quality products and services to our global customers. As we add to our destination list, we strive to maintain our elite offerings at a level that exceeds that of any other airline in the world. Thus, we were honored to be named “Best Airline Europe” at the 2012 Skytrax World Airline Awards for the second year running, as well as winning “Best Airline in Southern Europe” and “Best Premium Economy Class Airline Seat” for our Comfort Class seats.
How will being in an international alliance benefit you and your strategy?
International alliances are the next big thing in terms of booking travel for either business or pleasure. Travelers are given the ability to book through one single network and receive mileage points and elite status through the various frequent-flyer programs they employ. For our business travelers that log thousands of miles as they travel back and forth to different destinations, the last thing they need is a stressful travel experience. With our passengers’ comfort always our primary concern, we are proud to be part of the Star Alliance that was voted “Best Alliance” at the 2012 Skytrax World Airline Awards for the sixth time.