By Shashank Nigam, SimpliFlying
8 August 2012 | The Olympic fever is gripping sports fans the world over. Tapping on the trend of real-world engagement through social media, which we highlighted in SimpliFlying’s recent webinar, Turkish Airlines has transformed national flags into QR codes and then placed them on digital bus shelters all over London to engage Olympic fans.
Working with their agency, McCann, Turkish Airlines has also added a little gamification on top of it by turning it to a London scavenger hunt. Those who find and scan the QR Code with their mobile phone automatically “check-in” to that flag via the mobile site. To win a ticket to one of Turkish Airlines’ 200 destinations, all one has to do is be the participant with most check-ins. Those familiar with location based tools like Foursquare would find this a breeze.
Of course, the underlying aim here is to co-relate the number of diverse countries represented at the Olympics to Turkish Airlines’ own diverse destinations. Even if a person doesn’t win a ticket, at least he or she knows Turkish Airlines flights to the particular destination on the bar code.
In the mobile site, users can see the closest bus shelters, learn their check-in data and general stats. This video shows the QR Flags campaign in action at a bus stop in London.
1 August 2011 | Ambitious Turkish Airlines (THY), Europe’s fourth biggest airline and voted best airline in Europe in the 2011 Skytrax survey, has seen passengers soar as a result of an aggressive strategy to turn Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport into a hub for passengers travelling between Europe, Asia and Africa. One third of THY’s passengers currently transits in Istanbul and the airline plans to double this in the near future. To offer the rapidly growing number of passengers a better experience on the ground, Turkish Airlines has just opened a renovated and expanded lounge at Istanbul Airport.
The large, 3,000 m2 lounge (nearly three times the size of the former 1100m2 lounge) can accomodate 2,000 passengers per day and is divided in several sections, among which are a billiard hall and library, a TV wall, business centre, and a play room for children. The lounge also includes private relaxation rooms, showers with special toiletry kits, and a private infant room.
Catering in the lounges is provided by gourmet catering company Turkish Do&Co and passengers can help themselves on an extensive menu of hot and cold dishes, pastry, while a Turkish pizza (pide) kitchen prepares fresh pizzas on the spot. Besides a fresh juice bar, the beverage section offers Turkish brands such as Uludağ soda and Efes beer.
The design of Turkish Airlines’ lounge oozes an ambience of ‘Byzantine chic’ with curved arches that reflect the airline’s Ottoman roots (see also our recent whitepaper for more on how airlines can use their heritage to differentiate the passenger experience). The lounge also features a 150-year old olive tree and automatic piano that reportedly allows passengers to connect their iPod into to have it play their music. The lounge is accessible to Turkish Airlines’ business class passengers as well as and elite-tier members of THY and Star Alliance loyalty programs.
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13 December 2010 | In 2010, airlines such as Air New Zealand, ANA and Cathay Pacific have further raised industry standards by rolling out new cabin interiors. In recent years several airlines have also been investing in ‘softer’ elements of the inflight experience, such as inflight concierges (ANZ), Sky Nannies (Gulf Air) and onboard bar tenders (Emirates, Kingfisher and Virgin Atlantic). To add an extra dimension to the inflight dining experience, airlines such as Gulf Air, British Midland and Austrian Airlines have also employed ‘Sky Chefs’ for several years. Recently, these carriers have been joined by Asiana and Turkish Airlines.
Asiana ‘Inflight Chef and Somelier’
Asiana Airlines (winner of the 2010 Airline of the Year award) has just announced a new ‘Onboard Crew Chef & Sommelier’ service in First and Business Class on flights between Seoul and Los Angeles as well as Seoul and Frankfurt. The restaurant-like service is provided by Asiana flight attendants who have acquired licenses from international cuisine schools (e.g, Le Cordon Bleu) and sommelier courses (e.g, M.C. Sommelier, Wine & Sprit Education Trust) under an airline program that supports staff to take service courses at world-class institutions.
Asiana’s ‘Chef Service’ is formed by a team of three flight attendants who wear chef uniforms and serve a variety of Canapés and Lamb Chop dishes that have been developed by themselves. As part of the ‘Sommelier Service’ flight attendants decant wines and provide guidance in chosing the wine. The ‘Chef & Sommelier’ service will initially be provided just once a month on the two routes mentioned, but Asiana says it will soon increase the number of attendants with chef and sommelier skills and expand the service to New York flights by the end of 2010 as well. Since 2006, Asiana also employs an onboard sushi chef in First Class on flights between Incheon and Los Angeles, which provides passengers with freshly made sushi as well as some ‘culinary theater’ (see also this video).
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24 November 2010 | Turkish Airlines (THY), Europe’s fourth biggest airline and one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, has seen passengers soar as a result of an aggressive strategy to turn Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport into a hub for passengers between Europe, Asia and Africa. One third of THY’s passengers currently transits and the airline plans to double this in the near future. The airline operates direct flights to 128 international and 39 domestic destinations.
During 2010, THY has grown its fleet from 133 to 153 aircraft, added 15 new destinations and increased passenger numbers to 31 million (up from 25 million in 2009). In the first 9 months of 2010, THY’s revenues grew by 39 percent, passengers carried increased by 18 percent, and its load factor rose 3.4 points to 74.2 percent, despite the substantial capacity increase. THY says it aims to grow 15 to 20 percent annually in the coming years, just as it has for the past seven, and is on track to become Europe’s third-biggest full-service airline by passenger numbers soon, overtaking British Airways.
Doubling number of flights within 5 years
Turkish Airlines will increase its fleet to 196 aircraft within the next five years, as part of an order of 105 aircraft. With the new aircraft, the airline targets to double the number of flights it operates by 2015 and to become one of the 10 biggest carriers worldwide. Says THY’s CEO Temel Kotil. “The company grew twofold in recent years. Now we aim at competing with companies such as Luftansa and Air France. My personal aim is to raise the number of flights to 10,000 and make THY a world leader.” CEO Kotil also stated the Star Alliance carrier would focus on organic growth to boost market share, however THY is also looking to invest in other carriers, such as Serbia’s JAT Airways or LOT Polish Airlines. It already owns a 49% stake in B&H Airlines.
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4 March 2010 | 2009 was the year of inflight connectivity in the USA with the rollout of Aircell’s Gogo inflight Wi-Fi on nearly 700 U.S domestic aircraft (roughly a quarter of the domestic fleet). Inflight Internet access is now being offered (or will soon be offered) by 10 North American airlines. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, a similar development is taking place. Airlines such as Emirates and Wataniya currently offer GSM-based connectivity on cellphones and pda’s, and several carriers in the region will follow during 2010, with onboard cellular as well as Wi-Fi access.
Introduced in March 2008, passengers on 70 Emirates aircraft (out of Emirates’ 145-strong fleet) can currently use their cellphones and pda’s to make voice calls and send sms-messages. Emirates says 200 flights a day throughout 55 countries are currently mobile-equipped and each month passengers send and receive over 140,000 sms texts. The airline is installing the Aeromobile system at 2 to 3 aircraft a month and by mid-2010 will also add GPRS technology to its cellular service, providing pda users who need a quick internet fix with a limited Internet connection. Aeromobile together with Panasonic will also equip Turkish Airlines with full inflight broadband when the first of the airline’s 12 new B777-300ERs and 10 A330-300s enters service in the fourth quarter of 2010.
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