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“Female Aviators Touch all Business Lines in Aviation”

Issue 3 - 2020
“Female Aviators Touch all Business Lines in Aviation”
Women of Aviation Worldwide Week has been celebrating annually since 2010, worldwide and it is between the 2nd and 8th of March this year. Within this scope, we talked with İrem Hiçyorulmaz General Manager of Fly Service Turkey for her insight into the power of women in the aviation sector.
Aviation Turkey: You represent Fly Service Turkey, a company which provides Representation-Supervision services to aircraft arriving in our country with a C Group permit which it has under the Regulation on Airports Ground Handling Services (SHY-22). You have been working for a long time in a male-dominated industry and the female/male ratio is below the industry average. Now you are the General Manager of one of the industry`s leading companies. We are curious to learn more about how you and your company have reached this stage...

İrem Hiçyorulmaz: This year I am celebrating my 20th year in the industry. I started my career in the aviation sector during my university education, and I today still continue to work with the same passion and happiness. I have been working as a female manager in the industry for many years.

Before Fly Service I had a company of my own that provided “Representation – Supervision – Management” services. After the crisis in the tourism sector in 2017, I decided to close my company as I served European companies. A year later, our paths crossed with Mr. Sarıgöl, and now we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Fly Service together.

As the manager of the company Fly Service, with more than half of which are women employees, I can honestly say that, although the aviation industry is a male-dominated industry, female aviators have always made a big impact. You can clearly see the effects of a women`s touch on all business lines in the sector.

Aviation Turkey: How did you become interested in aviation? Was it a childhood aspiration and when did you decide to work in this field?

İrem Hiçyorulmaz: Being the daughter of a veteran aviator father is not enough; trust me, you need to love it. Of course, when your first and eternal love is your father, there are many more to come... I got on a plane for the first time when I was 3, and I could say that I could not separate from them since I was 4. I still remember the joy of going to the office with my father at every opportunity and being at the airport... Just to see the planes...In fact, our first meeting with Mr. Gökhan Sarıgöl was actually in our office when I was coloring my Hapag Lloyd coloring book. I could not believe it when he said, referring to my coloring…”If this is not great, then what is it!”

Aviation Turkey: Your entry into the aviation sector in the field of "Representation-Supervision" services started with working at your father`s company and then continued with managing it. What could you tell us about your father, who is remembered as a respected aviator by those who know him and the Süha Hiçyorulmaz Turizm company?

İrem Hiçyorulmaz: My father is one of the first to start this business. Unfortunately, we had losses among his respectable friends just like him. In fact, aviation during their time is full of notable memories and friendships that should be passed down from generation to generation. I learned a lot from them, I gained a lot, and most importantly, I gained my work ethic from them. I have a surname that I proudly carry, and in this industry, this is an invaluable legacy. Hopefully, I am making him proud, I can gladly say that I learned the job from the best.

Aviation Turkey: What can you tell us about the positive and negative factors that you had encountered since you started this business?

İrem Hiçyorulmaz: Our profession is both mentally and physically tiring, with long working hours. But at the end of the day, every successful operation and every challenge we overcome provides us with a great sense of happiness. The comfort and joy we receive at the end of a successful operation help us to rest our tiredness both physically and mentally.

The biggest problem we face in our sector are the foreign and domestic political problems that our country faces periodically and the significant financial losses that come along with it. Actually, we are used to it now, and we know that it will always continue like this. Unfortunately, our losses are high in crises, but our immunity is getting stronger as well.

Aviation Turkey: Can you inform us about the activities of Fly Service Turkey, what are the features that distinguish it from its competitors?

İrem Hiçyorulmaz: As Fly Service, we have more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Fly Service Turkey currently serves 75 airlines from different geographies and cultures. This diversity creates both new requirements and poses significant challenges in the commercial sense. Our difference from our competitors is that our quality of service is recognized globally, thanks to our established sustainable business partnerships. Considering the number of airline companies that we have been walking on the same path with for so many years, prioritizing our quality of service and customers is what makes us different.

Aviation Turkey: What are Fly Service Turkey’s plans for its upcoming 25th anniversary?

İrem Hiçyorulmaz: An incredibly large summer operation awaits us on our 25th year. We have signed great collaboration agreements and we will be happy to see these companies at our airports. We expect a 20% increase in our turnover this season.

We accomplish challenging operations as part of our business, but we will also sign important projects with a highly prestigious university. In our 25th year, we know that we should accomplish projects that will highlight the quality aspect of the sector. In this regard, Mr. Gökhan Sarıgöl is already a profoundly important name in the sector with the books he wrote and the aviation museum he founded, and also many more fascinating projects are on the way.

Aviation Turkey: As an aviator who has become a general manager in the aviation industry, what can you tell us about your company`s activities that improve the gender balance and its future plans, and also your evaluations about Women of Aviation Worldwide Week?

İrem Hiçyorulmaz: Turkey became the leading country in promoting gender equality in world aviation, with its systematic efforts and operations in this field. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation launched the "Social Gender Balance Improvement" initiative with the contributions of the aviation industry organizations and created a regulation based on this instruction (SHT-TCD). In this context, DGCA began to evaluate this issue throughout the country by forming a commission and commission advisory board. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the world`s first female pilot license issued to Raymonde de Laroche on March 8, 1910, the whole week of March 8 was announced as the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week in 2010. During this week, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation encourages to organize activities that will improve gender balance in aviation by increasing the number and level of women in the aviation industry.

As the main event of 2020, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation will organize a "Social Gender Balance Improvement" symposium at the Turkish Civil Aviation Academy (Istanbul) on March 4, 2020, with the theme of "Women at the Airport." This year, I will also attend as a speaker at the `Women Deciding/Managing at the Airport` panel. Thus, I invite everyone, especially all my fellow aviators, to this symposium.

I will continue to take part in all kinds of activities, which will increase the social awareness for the education and training of women and their participation in the sector. Because based on gender determination, asymmetry is experienced in almost every field in Turkey today throughout society. However, it should not be forgotten that there is no asymmetry in aviation.

If Women Soar, Life Will Soar!

Aviation Turkey: Is there anything else you would like to add?

İrem Hiçyorulmaz: It was a great privilege to know this family. You have brought a world-class magazine to the aviation sector with such meticulous care, and from the heart I wish for our cooperation to continue...

Aviation Turkey: Thank you for taking the time for our interview and sharing your knowledge and thoughts with us

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