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As at the end of 2017, Turkish Airlines, the national airline of Turkey operated scheduled services to three hundred and two (302) destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, making it the largest carrier in the world by number of destinations.

In July 2010, the airline commenced flight operations to Ghana, one of the fifty two (52) countries the airline flies to at the moment across the African continent. Turkish Airlines is now well positioned and accepted by the Ghanaian traveler with Ghana becoming one of its most important destinations.

In May 2018, the airline opened its new multipurpose office located within the heart of the Airport City at a special stakeholder and media event attended by everyone who mattered in the aviation sector. Patrons were walked through the airline’s journey from when it was established.

To get an insight into the operations of the airline and the plans for their Ghanaian customers and travelers, I had an interview with Mr. Aşkın Cantimur, the Vice President of Sales for Africa and Sub Saharan by the kind courtesy of the Turkish Airline Sales Manager in Ghana.

Mr. Cantimur emphasized on the importance of the Ghanaian market, which he described as the gateway to West Africa to an airline which serves as a hub for travelers in Asia, Europe, Middle East and the Far East. He further highlighted how Turkish Airlines connects Turkey and Ghana to the rest of the world.

“The Accra – Turkey route has become more important and we are very positive as the year goes by. This is by virtue of the connectivity to most destinations on Turkish Airlines wide network. The new Accra office is at a strategic location to enable clients to get easy access to the office and employees as well to have a very conducive environment to transact with the travelling public. It is also a walking destination from the Kotoka International Airport and this makes our operations easier”, he added.

With the airline space becoming more competitive, Mr. Cantimur detailed the new add-ons by the airline to give it a competitive advantage. “Turkish Airlines has one of the youngest fleet in the world. The company has been developing steadily in terms of new destinations and aircraft to meet the needs of its customers. Within this scope, investments have been made to offer high-end Customer Services both on board and at the airport”, he said.

At the end of 2017, Turkish Airlines recorded sixty-eight (68) million passengers and the airline is has an overall target of seventy-four (74) million passengers at the end of 2018. Mr. Cantimur is optimistic the target is possible and achievable with the airline implementing policies which places the customer at the heart of its operations.

About the airport in Istanbul, the Vice President of Sales for Africa indicated that the construction is being carried out in four phases with the first phase scheduled to be completed on October 29, 2018 and will be marked by the opening of two runways and a terminal.

“The new Istanbul airport is almost complete and aims to achieve the goal of making the city a global aviation hub by serving 90 million passengers per year during its first phase. Along with the final phase, the facility will be welcoming 200 million passengers. The new airport will be the world’s largest airport as ‘built from scratch’ and will be constructed as a modern, disability friendly, ‘green’ airport with high recycling and rainwater utilization capacity. The airport will be fully connected by railways with high-speed train and metro, and by highways with bus and car. Thus the project will be fully integrated with Istanbul’s transport infrastructure”, according to him.

Commenting on the future of the company in Ghana and beyond, Mr. Cantimur said they hope to be flying to more countries than any other airline in the world with one hundred and twenty one (121) countries and more than three hundred (300) destinations. He believes Turkish Airlines will continue to expand worldwide to offer efficient connections and competitive fares to it Ghanaian and other customers and provide high-end services all through their journey.

For all existing and potential customers, Turkish Airlines is striving to develop travel experience to a higher level and considers customer satisfaction as an essential value to ensure that each customer leaves the aircraft with a memorable experience.

By Chris Koney

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