Transcending Boundaries


Muhammed Fatih Durmaz

VP, Sales (Middle East and Cyprus), Turkish Airlines


Shereen Shabnam

Born in Istanbul, Muhammed Fatih Durmaz is a charismatic Turkish National who spearheads the strategies and plans of Turkish Airlines in the Middle East and Cyprus and helps set the course for the impressive growth of the carrier in the region.

Muhammed has lived all his life in Arab countries particularly in Kuwait and also in Egypt and Jordan. He got enticed into a career in aviation by coincidence with the image of flying in business class, the millionaire lifestyle and the interesting destinations.

He started his journey with Turkish airlines in Kuwait as Sales and Traffic agent and then as a marketing representative, marketing manager and following that, as a destination manager in Egypt. Moving to Asia, he was in-charge on Turkish Airlines in South Korea and returned to the head office before taking his current position in the Middle East.

Muhammed studied in University in Kuwait and continued his University studies in the American University in Jordan. He relishes the professional education and training that goes with the job.

In his current role, Muhammed is in-charge of Sales at Turkish Airlines and its extensive network throughout the Middle East. Each destination has its own accounts, marketing, operations, sales and they all report to the destination general manager and the general managers then report to Muhammed. Hence it can get overwhelming at times but where there is a will, there is a way.

Muhammed lives by the motto “crisis is a terrible thing to waste” and that there is always an opportunity if you work really hard and are successful with tailor made strategies. For instance, when he was working in Kuwait, the focus was on the outgoing Kuwaiti market but in Egypt it was mainly incoming into Egypt so the destination marketing took prominence.

Talking on operations, Germany, according to Muhammed, is one of the pioneers of travel technology solutions which helped him in South Korea because he was exposed to the professional know how of the industry at a different level. Muhammed tells us the best part of the job is the perks and the wonderful people he meets in the melting pot of world civilizations particularly in the GCC. He is fluent in the local dialects so he enjoys visiting Dubai.

Muhammed expects both profits as well as the load factor to increase when Istanbul will see the launch of the largest airport once all four phases are finalized. The initial phase will have a larger capacity than the current airport with better infrastructure, more destinations, aircrafts and frequencies. Talking about growth plans, Muhammed also sees an increase of traffic through Sabiha as connecting to other flights is seamless and easier because of the smaller airport.

According to Muhammed, a dedicated team at the Turkish Airlines head quarters solely work on customer experience and find new trends in aviation such as travelling in a healthy way and hence the “Feel good, Fly good” programme that lists exercises to do on the plane to make your journey comfortable and sustainable.

As a Star Alliance member, Muhammed values the extensive corporation between members with benefits to retain, earn and spend miles, and especially the value provided to corporate clients.

On the personal front, Muhammed loves travelling. He has a wife and a 2-year-old boy who is a delight and loves playing. Muhammed enjoys destinations but Zagreb is one of his favourites because of all it offers. He likes reading, playing chess and enjoyed active sports until he got injured.

Muhammed loves his job and believes that Turkish Airlines strengthens cross-cultural ties by making different cities accessible to people. He enjoys being part of an industry that connects civilizations globally. Especially when they visit Istanbul which has a strong cultural aspect, great shopping and use it as a stop over to different parts of Turkey and external destinations.

We thoroughly enjoyed meeting Muhammed and hope our paths cross again. In the interim, we wish him success in all the markets he looks after for Turkish Airlines.