With 270 destinations Turkish Airlines has the most reach of any global carrier, explains Adem Ekmekci, Houston general manager
One on One with Adem Ekmekci, Houston general manager for Turkish Airlines. Marriott buys Starwood. Meetings industry growth continues
What does it take to win the hearts and minds of global travelers?
EKMEKCI: International travel today, particularly business travel, is all about the amenities, service and ease of connectivity. Passengers today want to fly a carrier that understands and responds to what they want and need, and that has been our driving force at Turkish Airlines. Business travelers look for three basic things when selecting an airline; a decent meal, good sleep and an up-to-date entertainment system. Turkish Airlines offers all of these. Also, it doesn’t hurt that we serve award-winning food in flight and offer our CIP Lounge in Istanbul, which some consider the best airport lounge in the world.
BT: Connectivity is something Turkish Airlines has flourished on. What is the importance of that concept to the airline’s future?
EKMEKCI: We are anticipating a 17 percent growth in international travelers connecting through Istanbul this year versus last. This growth tells us that our network strategy is hitting on all cylinders and our expansion efforts into emerging markets, as well as the US has been successful to date.
In particular, we have made a big bet on our expansion into the US and are seeing success in that market as well. Not only are we connecting seven – and soon to be nine – US cities with the world via one-stop connections, but conversely, we are connecting the world to the US. BT: What can Business
Traveler readers expect to see from Turkish Airlines in these new markets?
EKMEKCI: One of the biggest challenges we face in the US market is to educate travelers regarding the reach of our global network. Some tend to focus on the fact that we serve Turkey and not that we are a global carrier that serves more countries than any other carrier in the world. That means that as we launch new US gateways, we are also opening up tremendous possibilities.
We have seen this materialize in our gateways across the US. In Houston where I oversee the operations our service has connected businesses and leisure travelers with some very unique destinations.
BT: When Turkish Airlines enters a new market, how does it impact that region – for example your recent opening in Miami?
EKMEKCI: Our strategy has been to connect global traffic through our hub in Istanbul. The Miami market was in need of service like this. Our entry into the market will expand the connectivity of Miami to the rest of the world by leaps and
bounds by offering onestop connections to over 270 destinations around the world.
BT: What’s the plan in Miami?
EKMEKCI: On the corporate customer side, our sales team will be working in the Miami market to share the benefits of flying with us. Corporate travelers can also benefit from the Turkish Airlines Corporate Club Premium. Among other things, it provides members with costs savings, the opportunity to change a reservation with no penalties and special baggage allowances.
BT: Turkish Airlines’ slogan is ‘Widen your World.’ How do you think this idea fits in with business travel?
EKMEKCI: As a truly global network carrier, we are proud to be in a position that we can connect the world. It seems like it gets smaller every day with all the benefits technology offers us, but nothing can replace the opportunities that present themselves when you travel to a destination and experience it for yourself. The ‘Widen your World’ slogan serves as a continual reminder of that. It also invites our respected guests to go beyond their normal routines and seek new adventures in different parts of the world.