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Exclusive Interview with Qatar Airways Türkiye General Manager Evren Ökmen

Issue 24 - 2024
Exclusive Interview with Qatar  Airways Türkiye General Manager  Evren Ökmen

 Aviation Turkey: Mr. Ökmen, thank you taking the time to speak with us. Would you mind sharing some insights about your background and experience in the field of aviation?

Evren Ökmen: My main career focus has always been the travel industry. Working in many different areas of the business helped me to have a broad understanding of this vast network. My journey began when I started working as a licensed professional tour guide during my university years. Following my graduation, I worked for several travel agencies. Then in 1999, my aviation career started when I joined TAL Aviation (the GSA company of American Airlines, Qantas and Jet Airways) as a Sales Executive. After 3 years of service there, I moved to Emirates which I worked as a Sales Executive for 8 years. My next post in the aviation sector was with Flydubai as the GSA Manager for Turkey for 2 years. In 2018, I joined Qatar Airways taking the position of Sales Manager – Turkey and in since 2021 I’ve been leading the office as Country Manager - Turkey.

 Aviation Turkey:  How many flights per day does Qatar Airways operate directly to Istanbul's 2 airports, and what type aircraft are used for these routes? Additionally, what cabin options are available for passengers on these specific aircraft types?

Evren Ökmen: Qatar Airways is proud to have been flying between Doha and Istanbul for the past 20 years. We currently operate 35 weekly flights between Doha and Istanbul, with 18 per week to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and 17 to Istanbul Airport. These flights take place on a mix of Airbus 320 and 350 and Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft.

 Aviation Turkey: Besides Istanbul, your airline offers direct flights to Doha from various cities across Türkiye, making it a favored choice among Turkish travelers heading to Far Eastern destinations. Could you inform us about the current cities with direct flights to Doha and any plans to expand your network by adding new cities in-the-near-future?

Evren Ökmen: We also currently fly five times a week to Ankara and in summer, we plan to operate flights to Adana (3x weekly), Antalya (5x weekly), Bodrum (3x weekly) and Trabzon (3x weekly). All routes are currently bookable via qatarairways.com

 Aviation Turkey: What are the upcoming plans for Qatar Airways' fleet expansion, considering its reputation for maintaining one of the youngest fleets among airlines? Additionally, could you share insights into the new destinations that might be introduced with the arrival of the pending aircraft orders?

Evren Ökmen:  We recently revealed our latest 2024 network expansion plans, which include the launch of flights between Doha and Hamburg for the first time starting in July. Qatar Airways will also resume flights to Venice in June, while there will be frequency increases on popular European routes, including Malaga, Nice, Prague, Sarajevo, Sofia, Warsaw and Zagreb.

For Turkish travelers looking to head East, Qatar Airways has also added additional flights to Bangkok, Colombo and Kuala Lumpur starting in April.

In terms of the Qatar Airways fleet, we currently have more than 250 aircraft, including Cargo, and as of December we have firm orders for 146 passenger aircraft.

 Aviation Turkey: Over the past decade, you've consistently received the prestigious Best Business Class Award. What exclusive services and privileges can passengers expect when flying Business Class with your airline? 

Evren Ökmen: Qatar Airways’ award-winning Qsuite is about more than just the extremely comfortable, fully lie-flat bed, although this is also a major selling point! For our Business Class passengers, the world-class journey begins from the moment they set foot in the airport, with a dedicated, speedy check-in, refreshments, lounge access and priority boarding. Once on-board, the Qsuite offers spacious and elegantly designed private suites with exceptional service and restaurant-quality, on-demand dining. Ambient lighting provides a calming atmosphere to help passengers adjust to different time zones and the extra space and privacy – along with a ‘do not disturb’ feature – is ideal for both work and relaxation. Passengers also receive luxury amenity kits from Diptyque and The White Company pyjamas.

Our Business Class passengers are provided exclusive treatment upon arriving at Hamad International Airport in Doha. The Al Mourjan Business Lounge makes transiting through DOH an unparalleled customer travel experience, and has been thoughtfully designed in a resort-like setting, with an incredible water feature and greenery, making it easy to forget you’re in an airport. The lounge offers the World’s Best Business Class Lounge Dining (awarded by Skytrax 2023) with international delicacies and an à la carte restaurant, conference rooms and private workstations, single and double “quiet rooms” with recliner chairs and private family areas with entertainment rooms, a children’s nursery and a dedicated games room.

Last year, Qatar Airways also opened its new ‘Business Lounge, overlooking the tropical gardens and water features of the airport’s impressive ‘The Orchard’. The lounge creates an immersive experience in a serene atmosphere, with quiet rooms and scenic relaxation areas, a fitness studio, spa facilities and a children’s nursery.

 Aviation Turkey:  In today's context, sustainability stands as a critical concern, and numerous airlines exhibit their commitment to environmental awareness through their choice of fuel and engagement in recycling initiatives. Could you elaborate on Qatar Airways' investments and initiatives pertaining to environmental sustainability?

Evren Ökmen: Qatar Airways remains absolutely committed to protecting the environment as much as we are committed to the passenger experience. As a oneworld member airline, we are dedicated to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Qatar Airways continues to operate one of the youngest fleets in the sky, which allows us to control carbon emissions and noise pollution. 

The airline is also committed to supporting the industry’s development of sustainable aviation fuels. We’re working diligently with all industry stakeholders to establish a viable pathway for the adoption of SAFs and we’ve set an ambitious target of 10% SAF usage by 2030 

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