An interview with General Manager of Turkish Airlines for Nepal

Aviation Nepal had an opportunity to conduct an interactive interview of General Manager of Turkish Airlines for Nepal Mr. Abdullah Tuncer KECECI. Mr. KECECI gave a wonderful view of aviation industry of Nepal and committed to support the industry being as a competent international airline operating in Nepal.

Mr. Abdullah is working as a General Manager of Turkish Airlines for Nepal since March 2016 and he has been involved in aviation industry for more than 25 years. Besides, he is an electronics and communication engineer too.

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Below are the some of the questions answered by Mr. Abdullah:

What brought you connected with aviation?

My father was a helicopter pilot. Because of that I became an aviation enthusiast. Then I saw scholarship from Turkish Airlines and applied for it.

Your experience on working in Nepal? And why Nepal?

I came to Nepal on 2016 March and I am working in Nepal for last 18 months. I mean Turkish Airlines appoint managers for destinations and we have around 300 destinations all over the world in 120 countries. So, it can be any of them according to the need of the company. That is why I am in Nepal

Could you clarify the on-going aviation fuel issue in Nepal?

In fuel issue I can’t say anything. If Nepal Oil Corporation is supplying the fuel then it must be qualitative so only we can buy it. But the problem is that fuel quantity is not enough and price is high.

Any suggestions for mitigating wildlife hazard at TIA?

As a part of airport security, the management body must secure the airport. That’s it and an airline doesn’t have any role in doing so as it is the responsibility of airport management committee. I am sure they are doing something to minimize wildlife hazard at TIA.

Your perspective on air traffic at TIA?

Air traffic of TIA is bit panic. In peak hours, all the airlines are facing big difficulties due to lots of holding time. More important than that is if an aircraft is about to land and you hold it, it’s almost a risk factor the airlines and they lose time, money and connections. There must be a solution for it. Sometimes because of air traffic or lack of sufficient parking bay, all the airlines are having difficulty at peak hours. So, that must be solved. TIA is only international airport so 24 hours operation can be initiated.

How do your airline cope up with the problems at TIA?

There are some difficulties at Tribhuvan Airport because of the geographical position and some approach modules. We are using the latest systems to approach here which helps to land aircraft at lower visibility. Also we have latest aircraft with skilled pilots.

What brought Turkish Airlines in Nepal?

Turkish Airlines is only European Airlines flying to Nepal. Of course, we brought some different understandings and we want to increase the quality up to huge standards; Europeans standard I can say. We are working to enhance quality of service here in Nepal. As Nepal is a tourism destination for Turkish Airlines so, we are promoting Nepal as a tourism country.

Your perceptions on upcoming bigger international airport projects?

There are some projects going on but I mean that we need them quickly. Whoever does that must do quickly because the country needs that. We are promoting Nepal as a tourism country so, the government must accomplish the project quickly.

Can Pokhara International Airport support Turkish Airlines?

I heard about Pokhara Int’l Airport but there are calculations for wide-body and narrow-body aircraft so, these calculations must be done from the professionals in that area. But what I advise to aviation industry is that whatever they develop should be beneficial for us.So, hopefully they will consider wide-body can land at those airports.

What could be the major setbacks of Nepali Aviation?

Aviation industry of Nepal needs a mindset change as there is a mindset problem. With current policies it cannot move forward. We are having problem as an international airlines and same problem is faced by domestic airlines. I mean if the fuel price is this much, landing-parking charge is this much, if ground handling service charge is this much, nobody can improve the quality of service. Also, there is monopoly in some areas, it should be broken.

How do you rate standard of airport service and safety of Nepal?

It is a tough question, if I grade it, I don’t want to grade it. It’s not my job I mean we know what is missing and what can be done. So, we should just move and we will be always supportive.

Major reasons behind Turkish Airlines to be the successor?

Turkish Airlines has an interesting story. In 2006, we just had 65 aircraft and 130 to 140 destinations. Then the mindset changed. In between 2006 to 2016, we approximately got 10% growth rate. With that growth rate, our aircraft size increased to 335 from 65 with 300 destinations. So, it was the mindset change done around those years that enabled Turkish Airlines to expand its fleet, destinations, improve quality of service and I am sure we will be better next year.

Why should Turkish be the desired airline company?

Because we are best European Airline but more than that we are continuously improving our service. In Europe we are flying to 111 destinations. We fly from South America to North America, we fly everywhere.  We fly almost every cities in Europe. We may be 4 years in Nepal market but we are more than 20 years old in most of the European destinations. We have more than 345 flights in Europe. We are convenient for the passengers and we serve with our own hospitality. Food wise we are good. We are trying to give service in high quality and we are very open and trying to support the industry where we are flying also.

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Your analysis on passengers’ satisfaction?

The passengers on Turkish Airlines are 99.9% satisfied. Of course for some percentage we can do better. That’s why we must improve our service continuously. We guarantee that next year we will be better. Quality is always first priority for us.

Is air fare higher for Turkish than any other airlines?

Air fare for Turkish is not higher. We are very competitive I can say. We are trying to give high quality service so, at Nepal Market it is cheap as compared to others because we know the difficulty of Nepal especially after the earthquake. We announce discounts and offers in special occasions. We are trying to be very supportive.

Could you point out difficulties in operating int’l airline in Nepal?

Being an international airline operating in Nepal, it’s really difficult I have to say. You have to survive because at Nepal, airport has some physical, geographical difficulties. Fuel prices are not high but unacceptable. Ground handling is not effective and the service given is worst. Landing parking charges are unacceptable. These circumstances must be removed because Nepal is tourism country and we are the one who can promote the tourism of Nepal.

Your views on ground handling service of TIA.

The ground handling service at TIA is unacceptable for us. It should be given in standard but we are paying highest charge. One of the reason behind the poor ground handling service is monopoly as Nepal Airlines is only doing that. We want Nepal Airlines to fly, we don’t them to focus on ground handling.

Your opinion on services at TIA

TIA services are not standard. Airport service are unfortunately at lowest level of standards. If you visit the airport, you will easily notice the setbacks. The airport area is like a big mess at peak times. Terminal buildings are inefficient. Parking bays are still insufficient. Information site is not good. Immigration service is poor. All these areas must be improved.

How do you analyze the aviation market of Nepal?

Aviation industry of Nepal is trying to move but with this difficulties it is not easy to move. I mean we also moved but it is not because of some opportunities in the market. Aviation of Nepal can move, there is a capacity so, airport services must be improved.

Any suggestions for Nepal Airlines Corporation?

I have many suggestions for Nepal Airlines. First, they must have effective and realistic plans. They should add more aircraft because there is capacity. They should continue on providing quality services. They should be always ready for competition. An airline can earn money when they fly more so, Nepal Airlines should not only focus on ground handling. Being Turkish Airlines, we are very supportive towards Nepal Airlines. The momentum of improvement is slow for last 20-25 years for Nepal Airlines Corporation.

How do you analyze employment opportunity in Nepali Aviation?

Aviation of Nepal is in growing period. There will be more opportunity but for now I think it is limited. Opportunity only comes if we move forward with sheer determination. In 2006, there was less opportunities at Turkey as we had 3500 cabin crews and 1200 pilots but now we have 11000 cabin crews, more than 4000 pilots and 30000 business employees. So, if we grow opportunities will also grow.

Your suggestions to Aviation Nepal

We wish success to team Aviation Nepal. Hopefully it will grow up and always give good news on aviation.  If you need anything from our side, we are ready for it.