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.

Business Traveler (USA) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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