Up­front

Ih­san Bay­tan, gen­eral man­ager, New York for Turk­ish Air­lines lays out a big vi­sion for the car­rier and the coun­try

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE EVERY ISSUE -

One on One with Ih­san Bay­tan, GM NewYork for Turk­ish Air­lines. Guangzhou set to adopt 72 hour visa-free pol­icy. United and US Air­ways in­crease do­mes­tic change fees. Fron­tier an­nounces charges for carry-on bag­gage and drinks. Aloft part­ners with De­sign within Reach. Supreme Court lets DOT rule­mak­ing stand. Hertz takes a stake in China Auto Rental. Amer­i­can adds Flag­ship Check-in at JFK. St. Er­min’s Lon­don joins Mar­riot’s Au­to­graph Col­lec­tion. Alaska up­grades seats, adds power. Hil­ton NewYork cel­e­brates 50 years.

BT: Turk­ish Air­lines is one of the fastest grow­ing car­ri­ers on the planet. What fu­ture plans are un­der­way to al­low you to con­tinue this growth?

Bay­tan: We re­cently signed the largest deal in Turk­ish avi­a­tion his­tory when we or­dered 117 Air­bus air­craft and 70 new nar­row-body planes from Boe­ing. With the ad­di­tion of th­ese new planes, the aver­age age of our fleet will drop from 6.6 years to 5 years by the end of 2020.

BT: What’s the one thing that makes your prod­uct dif­fer­ent that you truly en­joy talk­ing about?

Bay­tan: From our Fly­ing Chef ser­vice in Busi­ness Class and our beau­ti­ful amenity kits to our en­ter­tain­ment op­tions in­clud­ing LIVE tele­vi­sion and WiFi on some flights (free on all cab­ins), we of­fer a wide va­ri­ety of en­ter­tain­ment op­tions in ad­di­tion to our de­li­cious, award-win­ning cui­sine. Com­fort Class has been a real hit from day-one, not only for the leisure trav­eler but also for our cor­po­rate pas­sen­gers as well.

We have a large global net­work and fly to 222 des­ti­na­tions in 99 coun­tries (in­clud­ing sev­eral des­ti­na­tions in Africa and North Amer­ica). Thirty-nine mil­lion pas­sen­gers chose to fly with us in 2012 and we hope to reach 46 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2013.

BT: What’s hap­pen­ing with your ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties on the ground?

Bay­tan: While flight times and in-flight com­fort are the most im­por­tant fac­tors when it comes to cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, we think that the ex­pe­ri­ences they have in our lounges and clubs are equally im­por­tant. Our Turk­ish Cor­po­rate Club re­wards pro­gram of­fers many op­tions such as re-book­ing, re-rout­ing, and re­funds with no penalty fees.

Is­tan­bul has been an ex­tremely busy and suc­cess­ful hub for us. Al­though im­prove­ments to run­ways, bag­gage han­dling, ter­mi­nal build­ings and other ground ser­vices are be­ing made, the govern­ment is also think­ing about the long-term fu­ture and has al­ready laid the plans for a 150-mil­lion-pas­sen­ger-a-year air­port on the north­ern part of Is­tan­bul.

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