14. April 2021

Interview with Guliz Öztürk

Mrs. Guliz Öztürk serves as the Chief Commercial Officer at Pegasus Airlines since March 2010.
She began her career at Turkish Airlines. From 1990 to 2003, she served in various roles and managed important projects such as launching the first code-share flights, managing the alliance projects, launching the airline’s loyalty and bank card programs and its first website as well as implementing online ticket sales for the first time. Between 2003 and 2005, Öztürk served as Aviation and Tourism Project Coordinator and Director of Human Resources at Ciner Holding. In 2005, she joined Pegasus Airlines as Head of Sales and Marketing and since 2010, she was responsible for the commercial department. Güliz Öztürk graduated from the Department of Psychology at Boğaziçi University then completed the Advanced Management Program at Columbia Business School in 2018. She is also co-chair of the Women in Sales (WiS) platform, which was established to ensure the balance between women and men in company sales departments.

1. Pegasus Airlines is very often referred to as „Turkey’s Digital Airline“. What innovative technology and measures have been implemented to improve the overall travel experience of your passengers?
Digitalization is one of the areas that we have been prioritising at Pegasus since we launched our digital transformation in 2018. We have incorporated it into every aspect of our business from A-Z, to add value and enhance the customer journey, with our three focus areas for the future being alignment, disruption and big data. 
Digitalization has also been given a new sense of momentum due to the pandemic – and from the perspective of the aviation industry, it has helped make travel safer, by enabling “traveling with minimum contact”.  In this area for instance, we have expanded our self-service Express Baggage kiosks into new airports, with a 500% increase in usage during the pandemic. We have also enabled fully contactless boarding for our domestic flights with our chip-ID Project, a world and national first, meaning Turkish nationals with chip-IDs can use it to check-in, scan, and proceed straight to the gate without any kind of boarding pass.  We have also seen significant growth of our mobile app downloads and new user-friendly online services such as Flight Assistant.   

2. What future projects concerning digitalization & innovations do you have in the pipeline?
We are continuing with our digital transformation in both the commercial and operational areas.  On the operational side, we are working towards our technical staff being able to manage maintenance type work from their mobile phones and tablets. Other operational projects include ensuring that monthly and real-time planning for ground handling staff is optimized according to various changes in parameters and then updated accordingly; that our personnel are able to manage their work on their mobile phones, and that our vehicles in the terminal are planned effectively with Internet of Things (IOT).
In regards to the commercial side of the business, thanks to our recently launched Whatsapp Bot, our aim is to provide instant support to our guests in Turkey whenever they need it. We are also always researching and implementing opportunities for further digitalization throughout our guests’ travels, from ticket booking through to the completion of their journeys. We are working on solutions that further simplify and make processes such as seat selection and bag drop, easier for our guests. As a result of the pandemic conditions, we have also worked on informing our guests about the pandemic-related conditions and regulations of the country, they’re traveling ahead of their departure and we are constantly adapting to new regulatory issues. 

3. How do you handle the cargo capacity?
Although our airline model is a low-cost model, which does not usually incorporate cargo transportation, we have been carrying cargo with our aircraft since we began.  We decided to include cargo operations due to Turkey offering significant potential due to its location and the opportunity for high ancillary revenues. Before starting our cargo transportation, we set our principles on how to manage the process operationally. We prioritize our cargo transportation activities in a way that does not threaten our timely departure. Due to us utilizing a fleet of narrow-body aircraft fleet, we only operate bulk (loose) loading and our cargo shipments are from destinations on the Pegasus flight network. During the pandemic, some of our passenger aircraft have been loaded with cabin cargo in compliance with national and international regulations, and we are operating scheduled and additional cargo flights, using the cabin areas in some of our narrow-body aircraft, having increased capacity during the pandemic.

4. Where do you see a position of Pegasus Airlines in the world of freight forwarding?
With our low-cost model; we are a competitive and preferred airline with a strong international and domestic network in Turkey and with the value and cost efficiencies, we can offer, even without having wide-body and dedicated cargo aircraft in our fleet. 

5. Do you have any particular business model in place?
In 2019, we outsourced our cargo sales activities and switched to a new model. We signed an agreement with Dubai-based World Cargo Solutions (WCS) for our cargo operations to be carried out by WCS for 5 years. As part of our Total Cargo Management agreement, all of our Pegasus Cargo sales and marketing activities have been conducted by WCS since January 1, 2019. WCS is a company that specializes in managing the cargo operations of ​​airlines all over the world about services needed from A-Z in terms of air cargo.  Thus, we are benefiting from the know-how and wide network of an experienced and international company in this sector. By working together, we are able to create new business opportunities in cargo for Pegasus. As such, we are able to offer cargo transportation services from destinations that are not on the Pegasus network with Special Prorate (SPA) agreements.
6. What is your opinion about positioning WOF EXPO in Central and Eastern Europe region?
We consider the WOF EXPO an important meeting point for the whole supply chain and an innovative platform for developing new business and getting an inside view on future technologies.  We place great importance on this part of the world, with Central and Eastern Europe being amongst our core growth markets. 

Pegasus Airlines was founded in 1990 as a charter airline, after which it was acquired by ESAS holding in 2005, and re-launched as a scheduled low-cost airline. Pegasus offers its guests low-fares and punctual flights operated with the newest aircraft as Turkey’s first and leading low-cost airline, and one of the region’s aviation frontrunners. Pegasus has a growing network of 114 destinations, including 36 in Turkey and 78 international destinations in 44 countries across Europe, Russia and the Caucasus, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

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