Escalate

Quality, vision and a positive approach

  • strictly business

Nov 27, 2017-Abdullah Tuncer Kececi, started his corporate journey in 1996 as a simulation engineer at the flight training centre at Turkish Airlines, a position he held for two decades. Then, through a leadership management training programme, he saw an opportunity in sales and marketing and joined the department in 2016. Rising through the ranks, he was appointed the airlines’ general marketing manager for Nepal in March 2016, before being appointed the general manager shortly thereafter. In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Kececi talks about maintain a company’s brand image in a competitive market and fulfilling customer expectations. Excerpts: 

Before becoming the general manager of Turkish Airlines in Nepal, you worked for two decades as a simulation engineer. Why did you forgo a technical position for wade into management instead?

My journey towards the management side of business came through a leadership programme that was conducted by Turkish Airlines along with Harvard Business School. Before joining the sales and marketing team I was already volunteering with other departments with in the airlines, which gave me an opportunity to showcase a bit of my management skills.

With a little bit of training and experience, I don’t think management is a tough move for those who come from a technical background. It is just an added advantage. When I received the opportunity to join the sales and marketing department, I knew both its advantages and disadvantages.

Working for the technical side of the airlines for more than two decades, I knew a lot about the aviation sector, so I think I brought a different perspective and approach which helped in its own way. 

Turkish Airlines flies to 120 countries all over the world. How challenging is it for the airline to maintain its standard and brand image?

Turkish Airlines is a global giant. We operate to 120 countries all over the world and to sustain ourselves in the market, we have a plan. In fact, the company already has a blueprint till 2023.

Turkish Airlines believes in working with competent employees. If you have competent employees working for you, your quality standard improves significantly because these employees are smart, intelligent and are well aware of the vision and objectives of the organisation.

Everyone knows what to do and that adds value to the business. Our airline has 50,000 employees all over the world, which is a huge number. To build a brand, you have to be systematic.

Everything needs to work in a system. In order to stay on top, our employees are given rigorous trainings at least four to five times every year and we always stay abreast with the latest technologies.

You’ll build up quality and service if you have strict rules and regulations. To increase our brand presence, we try to work with other well established global brands to increase our value and standard. 

Since its launch, how has Turkish Airlines managed to sustain itself in the Nepali market?

Unlike other airlines, we promote Nepal as a tourist destination; it is not a labour destination for us. Turkish Airlines wants to promote Nepal around the globe because we know that this country has potential and tourists would love to spend time here.

Our main target is to help the economy of this country grow and we would just want to contribute our share. We want to give Nepalis the opportunity to travel all over the world with us at ease.

We have also partnered with a few Nepali organisations to build their brand through us. I have been here for a while and I urge Nepalis to feel that Turkish Airlines is their airlines too. 

Customers’ service is paramount in the aviation industry. How does Turkish Airlines cater to their customers’ expectations?

Aviation industry is stern when it comes to its rules and regulations and about the standard that each and every airlines need to maintain. From Turkish Airlines’ side, we try our best to help our passengers.

We know that life isn’t easy in Nepal and we try to give the best benefits to our Nepali passengers. So far, most Nepali passengers who have travelled with us have been satisfied. While catering to customers, sometimes everything cannot be correct from our side; hence, we try to bring in instant solutions to help them.

I think for a global airline like Turkish, that is one of the strongest points. Our people are always around to cater to the needs of the customers. The other part is that we try to be better at our work every day. We try to improve our services and increase the quality of the standard all the time. 

Like you said earlier, there are about 50,000 employees at Turkish Airlines working in various departments. When selecting a candidate, what are the primary qualities that the company looks for?

Turkish Airlines has a strong HR department. While hiring a candidate, their education qualification is mandatory for the first round of selection. Apart from education qualifications, experience for any department is essential.

Their adaptability and attitude is something we look at.  The other essential part while hiring a candidate is that we try to understand the kind of expectations they have from us. We want everyone to be in a strong employee.

We want candidates who can change their weaknesses to strengths and also someone who can be part of solution not a problem. To join any departments, be it someone from technical or management background, one needs to be very well versed and have good communication skills. For instance, being a cabin crew is not only about travelling around the world, it is more about ensuring the safety of passengers. 

Can you give us three tips on how a company can maintain its brand?

My three tips to maintain a brand are—quality, vision and a positive approach. Ensure quality and maintain the standard of the brand. Be visionary. And without a positive approach nothing is possible. Having a positive approach makes everything better.

Published: 27-11-2017 08:45

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