In this Exclusive
Interview, we talked
with Ms. Çiğdem Özkan,
of ACM Air Charter
Air Charter Market,
Business Jet services
and Airport fueling
services. Ms. Özkan also
informed us sincerely to
be a woman in aviation
sector. And also Ms.
Özkan informed us
about being a Woman in
the Aviation Sector
Şebnem Akalın: Ms. Çiğdem ÖZKAN, first of all thank you for taking the time for the interview. Could you briefly tell us about yourself? When did you start working at the aviation industry? Are there any difficulties of being a woman in aviation industry? Or what kind of advantages do you think being a woman in aviation provide to your work?
Çiğdem Özkan: I was born in 1983 in Diyarbakır. I completed my elementary, secondary and high school education in Diyarbakır. After graduating from the Business Management department at USA BREYER STATE University, I studied for my post-graduate degree in the same area at York University. I worked at family company for a while. I continued my professional career at a private ground services company and worked there for three years. Then I returned to academic life at the Beykent University and studied Architecture - Interior Architecture Double Major there. After working at the architecture sector for a while, I decided to work at the aviation industry in İstanbul, considering the vast business opportunities in this city. I started to work for the ACM Air Charter Market Company that has operated in this sector for long years and aimed to bring my previous experiences to this company for elevating it to further levels with a brand new vision. Currently, I am working as a general manager at the ACM Air Charter Company.
Rather than a discipline tackling the structures, I regard architecture as a discipline approaching all aspects of life through a multi-dimensional, innovative and aesthetic perspective. This profession taught me how to solve problems and to constantly create and achieve better in this sense and shaped my decision to take part in the aviation sector dominated by men and bring a female perspective to this industry. My personal opinion is that in any industry a woman’s touch adds meaning to any job and embellishes it. Women have always played a major role in tackling fine details and generating practical and rational solutions.
Şebnem Akalın: ACM Air Charter Market delivers a wide range of services. Could you inform us on such services?
Çiğdem Özkan: Presently, as Air Charter Market, we provide ground services, representation, supervision and fuel services to aircraft at many stations. Currently, we are active in 25 airports throughout the country. We are providing such services abroad as a supporting company in cooperation with many real and legal entities.
In parallel with the development in technologies and transport infrastructure, aviation has become an area that gathers people and countries the most. Therefore, I always desired to elevate this sector to better levels, globally. Taking the indispensability of aviation in this sense in the long run and with a vision to enable more comfortable travels without dependency on time schedules, we started to offer private jet rental services as ACM airlines in addition to our company that conducts representation and supervision activities.
Şebnem Akalın: As an unprecedented threat to the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected the aviation industry the most. Has this led to a change in your roadmap? Could you tell us about your activities and operations in the upcoming period?
Çiğdem Özkan: The Covid-19 pandemic that impacted the entire world in all aspects has also adversely affected the transport and aviation sectors. There have been restrictions applied by the governments and states. The number of travels decreased severely. Accordingly, we have adopted measures at the utmost level for our workplace, our employees and our services in line with the existing implementations of the Ministry of Transport’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the recommendations of scientists. We aim to continue to provide safe, healthy and qualified travel experiences in the upcoming period as well. ,
Şebnem Akalın: We observe that there has been an increase in private jet charters due to the pandemic. Chartering private jets is one of the services offered by your company, so do you think there has been an increase? What precautions do you take and what kind of services do you offer to your customers for these demands?
Çiğdem Özkan: Today, ACM Air Charter Market maintains its private jet services as part of the International and Local Travel Support. We serve our customers with two air vehicles in our company’s fleet to represent our company better in the global market in the long run. These aircraft are the Gulfstream GIV aircraft named GAP and ATA which were previously used by the presidents and prime ministers of our country. By the end of April, we will be receiving our third aircraft. In this way, we plan to improve our services and provide more qualified services to intense demands during the pandemic and post-pandemic period.
Şebnem Akalın: As summer approaches, the civil aviation sector normally revives. However, many organizations claim that summer 2021 will also be under the negative impact of pandemic and the recovery is expected by summer 2022. The ups and downs in the sector are said to be W-Shaped before full recovery. What are your comments on this issue considering the incoming demands?
Çiğdem Özkan: We project that the pandemic will affect 2021 summer in a negative way as it did during the summer of 2020. The increasing number of cases results in additional restrictions and measures and we are on top of the list of the most affected sectors. Despite the decrease in the demands in general, as we offer rather private and customized services, new demands began to arise for private flights. Once the course of the pandemic heads towards a positive direction, we will experience faster progress in the representation area with the increasing activities of other airlines.
Şebnem Akalın: Vaccination tours abroad are quite popular recently. It is projected that services such as jet charters will create a new market for organizing vaccination tours. What are your views and comments on this?
Çiğdem Özkan: In fact, we observe a gradual start in a new and major demand in the area of “vaccination tourism” in line with the permits of the countries. Our team has been intensely working on market research. I can say that the vaccination tours will become a travelling option in the forthcoming months. We have been pursuing intense negotiations with the travel companies over such travel packages.
Şebnem Akalın: In addition to providing full ground services, including surveillance and representation to commercial flights, business jets, private flights, helicopters, cargo flights and military flights, your company also offers fuel supply services. What would you like to say about ACM fuel?
Çiğdem Özkan: As ACM Fuel, we offer refueling services at all the airports in Turkey. The airports where our staff provides physical refueling services with our equipment are as follows: İstanbul Atatürk Airport (ISL) - İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB) - Dalaman Airport (DLM) - Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport (TEQ) - Bodrum Airport (BJV) - Ankara Esenboğa Airport (ESB) - Denizli Airport (DNZ) - Isparta Airport (ISE) - Alanya Gazipaşa Airport (GZP).
With our ACM Bunker Fuel Delivery License, we provide refueling services with the JET-A1 fuel we procure from SOCAR and TÜPRAŞ refineries. We deliver this fuel to our VIP jets at the airports in Turkey and the foreign-flagged airlines to which we also deliver Representation and Supervision services. Presently, we deliver refueling services with our 19 refueling air vehicles at our airports with a capacity of 25.000 to 35.000 liters and our depots at the airports with a total capacity of 1.285.000 liters. With our competitive prices and service quality, we aim to become the leading fuel provider in the sector.
Şebnem Akalın: We know that you deliver services at important airports of Turkey. At which airports do you currently deliver services and are there any new airports to be included in your service network in the near future?
Çiğdem Özkan: We deliver our services in the 25 critical airports of our country, particularly at the new İstanbul Airport. We are actively providing services to cargo and passenger aircraft, private jets and helicopters and act as a facilitator as ACM. We are always able to expand our service network in accordance with the demands of our airlines with the addition of new airlines’ flight network to our company, by obtaining licenses for other airports.
Şebnem Akalın: Ms. ÖZKAN, is there any message you would like to convey to Aviation Turkey readers?
Çiğdem Özkan: I am pleased to take part in this issue of your magazine. We have been following the Aviation Turkey magazine with great interest.
The aviation sector that has been growing and developing rapidly in our country always needs a qualified workforce. As a person who considers aviation as a passion, I advise young people to head for this sector without hesitation, which has a key role with global prominence. In addition to receiving education in areas such as finance, management and tourism needed by the market, learning English and even a second foreign language will provide them with additional facilities, smooth their way and will broaden their career choices. Our future is in the youth, and the “Future is in the skies”