If you’re rolling around hardstands
these days looking at airplanes, you may notice the distinctive shadow
relief of an elegant tulip connected to a long, thin stem emblazoned on
every Turkish Airlines airplane.
Then you meet Turhan Ozen, Head of Cargo
for the Istanbul-based carrier.
While the aircraft-laden skies above Istanbul
are increasing connectivity via a growing global network, the debut of
the biggest airport in the world, Istanbul International, waits in the
wings for late 2018. Soon the most dramatic air traffic control tower
on the planet (designed by Pinna Farina) will go into action. In addition
to directing traffic, it also will serve as a new landmark for global
Cargo Future Vision
Driven by sky-high hopes and dreams and
plenty of investment, at Turkish Cargo vision is now to be implemented
As far as we can tell after, he not only
appears ready, but eager to get on with his close up.
“I am here to drive Turkish Airlines
vision through investment, fleet, routes, product offering and staff management
under the presidency of the Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee
of Turkish Airlines, Mr. M. Ilker Ayci, to rank Turkish Cargo amongst
one of the top five air cargo carriers in the world by 2023,” Turhan
To attain that lofty goal means that Turkish
Cargo is slated to grow no less than two and a half times bigger in the
next six years.
Face to face, Turhan’s story unfolds
in a seemingly endless wave, just like the long line of aircraft making
low passes on final above Ermensil, an elegantly beautiful restaurant
located on the water in Floria near Ataturk International Airport, where
we are lunching.
As I see those big birds moving past our
window on final, I can’t help but think we should all take a tip
from the tulips and look up at sky. It is exactly what Turkish Cargo is
all about these days.
“This posting is a big challenge and
I am extremely excited,” Turhan exclaimed.
“It’s a real eye opener to move
from being the customer of the airlines to the other side of the desk,”
“Our goal is to be a top line enabler
and to position our offering amongst the top echelon of the world’s
cargo carriers by 2023, as Turkish Republic celebrates its 100th anniversary,”
“So with everything else we are about,
building our offering to the world is a matter of national pride,”
“There are forces—all the partners
from airlines to forwarders to truckers, warehouse and others—that
need to be aligned and in tune with each other, not unlike the players
in a symphony orchestra. That’s what it takes to operate an efficient
air cargo supply chain.”
Beat The Experience
“Working in the logistics chain from
a customer perspective, then later as an intermediary between customers
and the airlines, and now as the airline affords an opportunity to bring
real understanding of customers needs and values to the provider level,”
says Turhan Ozen.
“It’s all about alignment with
product management, customer centric approach , planning, network optimization,
capacity planning, sales force management, and other essential drivers
for success that I have been able to change during this first year at
“We are simply utilizing strengths
we already have much better whilst improving our approach to doing business
Pillars of Turkish Cargo
“My view was built on from Turkish
Cargo’s four brand pillars.
“First pillar is our geographical
location as a traditional hub and the emergence of our new gateway airport
that will rank as biggest in the world.
the next six years we are going to increase our hub capacity 3.5 times
above current levels.
“We currently have 1.2 million tons.
“By 2020 capacity will rise to 3.5
million tons and by 2023 we can be at 4.5 million tons yearly.
“The second pillar is network.
“Turkish Airlines as a worldwide carrier
has one of the most extensive aerial networks of any airline serving 120
countries and 300 destinations.
“Our ‘hidden freighter’
capacity derived from our fleet of 330 planes also ranks amongst the best
and most efficient anywhere.
“Take Africa for example.
“Currently Turkish Airlines serves
51 destinations in Africa.
“Put another way, Turkish Airlines
Africa is out front and pulling away, offering more service that anyone
“Africa is one of the most challenging
and potentially rewarding markets in the world, not to mention most exciting,”
Turhan Ozen’s near 30-year work experience
involves sales, marketing, business development, logistics and supply
chain related areas.
After graduating from Galatasaray High School,
he began studying at the Department of Management at Bogaziçi University.
Later, he got his Executive MBA at Koç University.
He started his early career as the manager
of the sales and logistics departments for the Koç Group’s
affiliates in the automotive sector where he later became logistics manager.
He worked as the Distribution Operations
Group Manager and Operations Director at TNT Logistics, where he had been
involved since its establishment in Turkey.
Between 2012 and 2014, he was occupied as
Vice President of Business Development & Sales at CEVA Balkans-Middle
East and Africa Region.
Later in 2015, he was appointed to the position
of CEVA Global Health Sector President. He served as the Managing Director
of CEVA Logistics Middle East and North Africa region until he joined
the Turkish Cargo family in December 2016.
“Pillar three of our plan is to rise
to the top of air cargo as our customer effort moves forward.
“Currently, as Turkish Cargo, we are
looking to strengthen our long-standing carrier relationship with our
partners—the freight forwarders and move to the next level.
“The forwarders provide value to the
“They are important to our effort
and our customers, especially from a business and commercial perspective.
“Forwarders in the conventional sense
provide value by consolidating shipments; providing additional services;
handling customs brokerage, sea ground terminals, supply chain management,
and 4PL shipments; collecting the money; maintaining shipper relationships;
and overall helping to build business.
“The freight forwarders continue to
provide value to the shippers for the air cargo industry in following
years and, they are important and significant customers for Turkish Cargo.”
As for disrupters, including the hotshot
newbie IT providers living up ‘on the Cloud,’ Turhan Ozen
“We are keeping an open mind.
“At this point I favor the approach
to add these services as part of their portfolio.
“In the long run, my view is these
services will probably be most useful in A to B pure freight low service
“The real freight forwarding business
includes consolidation and the other points mentioned,” and
“we know as a carrier we cannot go to our millions of shippers directly.”
“The paradigm shift in the industry
today involves the role of shippers and forwarders.
“Despite the historic belief by some
airlines that think their ultimate customer is the forwarder, I believe
that the ultimate customer for the airline is the shipper, the owners
of the cargo who pay the bill.
“Airlines and forwarders should not
only cooperate, but also collaborate.
“We need to think outside the box,”
Turhan Ozen said.
“It’s about the Turkish people,”
Turhan Ozen declares.
“Here, the great Blue Mosque has been
a shrine of Islam around 500 years and sits just across the street from
the great 1,600-year-old Christian shrine of Sofia.
“Historically, we are viewed by east
and west at the crossroads of the world.
“Turkish people ease into relationships
with western nations as a natural continuance of history as well as eastern
“Many of the Turkish business executives
that I have met in my 30 years in business have adopted into various world
cultures quite easily.
“We have history and the power of
geography and experience in dealing with the world as part of our natural
DNA as we move forward in the 21st century.”
“Turkish Cargo, has been a strong
part of our brand offering during the past years and I am out to strengthen
that perception not by taking down relationships, but rather by identifying
and then enhancing the activities that we and our service partners do
“Working together as true partners
while serving our ultimate customers is the fast track to reinforce the
value of what we do, and ultimately guaranteeing our future success.”