Turkish Airlines has been operating in Nepal for the last four years and has succeeded in establishing itself as a major airline working for the Himalayan nation. It has become a gateway for Nepali to reach various European cities with 5 weekly flights, more than 300 destinations via Istanbul, Turkey and its services reaching to 120 countries. Now the airline plans to increase its quality services in Nepal even more.
Mr. Abdullah Tuncer Kececi 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.
Our correspondent Juliyana Shah interviewed Turkish Airlines General Manager Abdullah Tuncer Kececi about his perspectives on Nepal’s aviation industry
Q: In what projects you have been involved in during your tenure?
Abdullah : We have been involved in various projects which will make Nepal stronger. We are trying to connect rest of the world with Nepal and vice versa. Also we are trying to build bridges and a nice relation between Turkey and Nepal. Likewise, we are also planning to conduct flights on daily basis from September. Nepal is a country where there is huge potential of tourism industry so we must set a target and implement growth plans to welcome tourists in Nepal.
Q: What role can Turkish airlines play in promoting tourism in Nepal?
Abdullah : We are trying to promote Nepal as a tourism destination. For us Nepal is not only a labor market. We encourage people to visit Nepal to see its natural beauties. To promote Nepal in international arena we have been involved in cross-marketing activities and have reached places like World Trade Market (WTM) London, Fitur Spain, ITB Berlin, Paris Tourism Fair, and United States. We are encouraging all tour operators all around the world to plan more tours to Nepal. Similarly, we are trying to make Turkish airlines like the national airlines of Nepal for giving access to tourists who wants to come to Nepal and make our growth plans parallel with plan of Nepal Tourism. Being an airline company we are pushing everyone to make Nepal a easy accessible tourism destination.
Q: In your view what are the challenges in working in aviation industry of Nepal?
Abdullah : The more we invite people, the more infrastructures are required. We need to develop infrastructures, airport services, and securities. There are some geographical difficulties too but we are taking our own precautions. To improve the conditions, airport should be open for 24 hours, better service should be provided and service must be improved, securities must be maintained and tourism market should be stronger. People who has to travel will travel anyway. But when we talk about tourism destination people want to travel those places which are easily accessible. For us, Nepal is a tourism destination. To be strong in tourism market we have to plan it in a better way. We should have a tourism growth plan and make our footsteps accordingly.
Q: What are your views on air traffic at TIA? What can be done to control it?
Abdullah : There is too much air traffic in TIA. All the people are having difficulties. Due to the single runway we are facing this difficulty and for that new international airports should be constructed as soon as possible. Domestic flights can be considered to be shifted to another airport which is near to TIA. Domestic flights are affected by international flights traffic, international flights are also affected by domestic flights. So why do we make life harder for everyone? Likewise, luggage area is very messy. The service must be improved. Quality service should be provided to the passengers. As the airport gives the first impression, we must welcome our guests by improving our facilities. We should focus on reality and put the target among people otherwise it will not be easy. Improvement should be supported and our plans must go parallel with the plans of the governments in tourism areas.
Q: As we know Turkish Airlines is the only flight from Europe to Nepal. What can be done to increase the number and promote other Europeans to visit Nepal?
Abdullah : To increase the number of tourists we have visited many countries for promoting Nepal as a tourism destination. Also, we are involved in various tourism fairs. We have also good connections with PATA. Our main goal is to give accessibility to the tourists who want to visit Nepal. In 2015 due to the earthquake Nepal had dropped back in tourism. The number of tourists was decreased. In these 2 years’ time, we tried to convince people to visit Nepal again. Tourism is a field where everything must move together. We have to manage hotels in a better way. Transportation facilities must be smooth. New airports should be constructed. Educated people should be hired in Aviation Industry, tourism industry. Roads must be constructed well. Of course the most important thing is to preserve the natural beauty. We all are pieces of a chain and we have to make that every piece stronger to make the chain stronger.
Q: Any suggestions for Nepal Airlines ?
Abdullah : We want Nepal Airlines to operate all around the world. Nepal aviation industry must be stronger. If we do not provide quality services they won’t visit Nepal again. Governments should form policies and build infrastructures accordingly. There is increment in the price of fuel so it should be reduced to world average levels to have more operating airlines in Nepal. As compared to other destinations, Nepal is very costly in many areas for aviation. Costs should be reduced to normal. We all should be together to make the aviation and tourism industry stronger. It is important for all operating airlines and of course all the tourism stake holders and the development of the country.
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