One on One with Fatma Yuceler, Turkish Airline’s general manager, Western Region US. Expedia buys Orbitz. Marriott acquires Delta Hotels. High tech, local foods are top restaurant trends. Hyatt announces Centric brand. American takes Dreamliner delivery.
BT: You were recently recognized by Women in International Trade – Los Angeles as the International Trade Catalyst of the Year. Tell us about that award and the changing dynamic for women in global aviation.
YUCELER: I felt truly honored to have received this wonderful award, which is a testament to the fact that my work with Turkish Airlines has made a positive difference. I have been able to contribute to global trade discussions to further bridge the economies of the world.
To be a woman in business means I have a voice to be heard. I can regularly communicate and interact with the movers and shakers in the airline industry and corporate world. Through my associations with them, I can bring to life ideas and initiatives that produce tangible, impactful results that benefit people. I wouldn’t be able to do that in any other capacity.
BR: What’s your background at Turkish Airlines?
YUCELER: I have been working with Turkish Airlines starting as an account executive in different positions related to marketing in Istanbul and NewYork. In Los Angeles my goal was to establish sales, marketing, airport and cargo operations for the Turkish Airlines brand in the entire US Western Region.
In a short period, with intense marketing, promotional and advertising efforts, we have led a strategic expansion of our services in the L.A. region. The huge growth and success in the L.A. market has been an incomparable highlight of my time with the airline.
BT: What does it take to strategically develop a market like Los Angeles or San Francisco for example?
YUCELER: Before our launch, no other airline offered direct, non-stop flights from L.A. to Istanbul. We sought to fill an important market gap in Los Angeles with intensive marketing strategies that included celebrities and other influential people in the community, and we continue to maintain and leverage these vital relationships. From the start, the interest of the public in Turkish airlines and Turkey was sparked in a very short time.
Moreover, our efforts to promote Turkish Airlines’ vast network of flights has made the airline the preferred choice by passengers of different ethnic backgrounds living in Southern California.
We look to do the same in San Francisco. This is a huge and rapidly growing market that will further expand Turkish Airlines’brand on the West Coast.
BT: Turkish Airlines recently won recognition from our
Business Traveler readers for your business class cuisine. Where do you see inflight continuing to differentiate?
YUCELER: On top of being recently voted as the“Best Airline in Europe”for the fourth year in a row, Turkish Airlines was also recently awarded“Best Business Class Onboard Catering.” We serve meals from world cuisines and provide a unique on-board“Flying Chef”service on our long haul flights. Business class travelers can expect only the best in their food, from fresh fruit and cheese to a tasty Turkish Delight.
What distinguishes Turkish Airlines is the warmth of the Turkish people and our superior customer service. We put our heart and soul into making sure our passengers experience Turkish hospitality from the moment they step on to our plane to the moment they set foot into our country.