Ahmet Olmustur, Turkish Airline’s, Chief Marketing Officer
By Shereen Shabnam
Turkish Airlines, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world reaches new milestones before the celebrations end from the achievements of the previous week. We meet with Ahmet Olmustur, Turkish Airline’s Chief Marketing Officer to find out how he keeps up with the growth and on the Airlines new networks and collaborations.
Ahmet is responsible for marketing strategies, sales, revenue management, network planning, corporate communications and distribution channels for the airline. In addition to his many roles, he is also a member of board at Sun Express (Turkish Airlines & Lufthansa Joint venture).
During our meeting at ATM, Ahmet mentioned that Turkish Airlines was set to achieve a sales target of USD 12.2 billion in 2016, with an overall capacity increase of 16 per cent over last year. From 2014 to 2015, Turkish Airlines grew its business by 10 percent and increased passengers from 58 million to 60 million.
Rated as a 5-star dining and lounge airline, the airline offers a massive network, with 282 destinations worldwide and growing. According to Ahmet, Turkish Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, which is an added value. It also strives to maintain employee satisfaction, as many employees enjoy longevity in the “family” atmosphere that Turkish Airlines provides.
Referring to the Middle East, Olmustur mentions that the first quarter this year saw an increase in capacity by 16 percent in the GCC markets and 18 per cent in the Middle East countries as travellers from the region looked at 24 new routes that were added last year to the Turkish Airlines network of 285 destinations.
Ahmet feels that with growing market presence and phenomenal customer uptake, Turkish Airlines will increase capacity this year by offering more flights, destinations and increased frequencies to our growing loyal customer base. The airline has a very strong GCC presence with many of these flights originating from destinations that are becoming increasingly popular. Turkish Airlines has 482 weekly flights from the Middle East. Of these, 193 weekly flights are from the GCC.
Globally, the number of passengers is projected to rise to 72.4 million, up from 61.2 million last year consisting of 31.6 million domestic and 40.8 million international travellers. The airline is also expecting to grow to 186 billion seat kilometres in 2016.
“Turkish Airlines has been actively associated with sports,” remarked Olmuştur, referring to the many global sponsorships of sporting legends and events. It is the ‘Official Airline Partner’ of the biggest soccer event in Europe, the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France.
Recently VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines announced a new global marketing partnership to attract more international visitors to Britain, with a focus across the airline’s five regional gateways, which include Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh, as well as London’s Heathrow and Gatwick. Ahmet feels it is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Turkish Airlines to team up with a reputable brand as VisitBritain. The travel market in the UK continues to go from strength-to-strength and he strongly believes the partnership will further enhance visitor numbers in the UK in the coming year.
Turkish Airlines has been chosen as “Europe’s Best Airline” for the sixth consecutive year* in the 2016 Skytrax World Airlines Awards. Skytrax is the most respected global airline passenger survey organisation in the industry, and its World Airline Awards described it as “the Oscars of the aviation industry.” Six years running is a real accolade and demonstrates Turkish Airlines’ continued commitment to the passenger satisfaction and development within the industry.
The independent survey evaluates traveller experiences across a wide range of airport services and then evaluates key performance indicators – from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration right through to departure at the gate. This year’s awards were based on over a million questionnaires completed by nationalities worldwide. The survey covered 550 airports worldwide and consequently unveiled an unrivalled perception of the airline industry across the globe.
On the personal front, Ahmet comes across as a charming young executive with a visionary mentality that sets him apart in the industry. Before his current role, Ahmet served as Senior Vice President, Revenue Management between until 2014, and as the Revenue Management and Pricing Manager of East Europe and Balkans between 2010 and 2011. His previous experiences also include him being the General Distribution Systems Manager between 2009 and 2010.
Ahmet received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Marmara University, and pursued his Master’s Degree at European Business School (London) and Pole Universitaire Leonard de Vinci (Paris), before completing his MBA at Long Island University – Brookville (New York) concentration in International Business.
What impressed me most about Ahmet is that he is a member of the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees at Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin Research Foundation for the History of Science in Islam. Fuad is a scholar I respect a lot and admire a lot and while I did my studies in Islamic Civilisations, he was my main point of reference. I admire the fact that Ahmet takes time out from his hectic work schedule to be part of this Foundation.
Ahmet is also a member of the MBA Association in the United States. Understanding the responsibility of being a leading airline within the global aviation community, Ahmet mentions that Turkish Airlines is determined to carry out its mission by moving forward with its unparalleled service concept, superior quality, trustworthiness and reliability.