Operational facilities at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NNIA), Abuja have been stepped up to ease passenger facilitation, Country Manager, Turkish Airlines, Abuja, Mehmet Asik, has said.
He said the carriers now have a different flight experience using the newly inaugurated Abuja Airport Terminal, as opposed to the old terminal where its aircraft could not park near the aviobridge, forcing it to use a bus to convey passengers to the terminal building.
He said the carriers had devised strategies to handle short landing of luggage into Abuja Airport experienced about two years ago.
He said the carrier considers the Nigerian market very important, a development that has made it to work harder to proffer solutions to infractions arising from poor services.
His words: “We are so happy to move our operations to the new terminal, we are happy to have the very latest technology in Abuja, it will give us the best opportunity to handle our passengers. At the old terminal, there was no such opportunity for us to park near the bridge, passengers only use the bus to connect the terminal on arrival but the new terminal offers more facilities”,
Speaking on what led to passengers blocking an aircraft on the tarmac in Abuja in 2016, Asik attributed this to capacity and seasonality, adding the airline had since made some technical adjustments to prevent a similar experience .
“The problem had to do with capacity and seasonality, sometimes some people prefer to carry over 100 luggage and during period, it becomes an issue but we have been able to prevent this from happening since then and we will continue to update the system.”
He said the airline will begin London-Istanbul-Port-Harcourt flights beginning from June 24.
He added that the airline plans to introduce student fare on the route by offering discount to passengers going to study abroad from the region.
He also disclosed that the airline will introduce its Corporate fare (club) to institutions, non-governmental organisations and ministries in the Port-Harcourt region, adding that they will enjoy benefits such as discounts, no penalties, incentives and excess baggage. On why the airline expanded flights into Port Harcourt, he said it would be an opportunity to open the route to the world through Istanbul.
He commended the fact that the international airport in Port Harcourt is new and would support the airline’s services and give passengers a world of wonderful experience.
He said Turkish Airline has seen steady and significant passenger and cargo growth from 2005 till date. The airline, he said, has grown from a 14 million passenger per annum in 2005 to 78.5 million per annum in 2018 basing it on the airline’s drive for safety, customer satisfaction.
He also said that the airline has grown from 135,000 tonnes in 2005 to about one million tonnes in 2018, stating that Lagos houses its biggest cargo operations in the world with three cargo flights weekly.
On fleet acquisition, the Turkish team stated that the airline has 336 aircraft, all at an average of 8.2 years old making it the youngest fleet in the world and has ordered over 150 new aircraft to boost its fleet size to approximately 500 in the next five years.
Turkish airline said on Thursday, it airlifted 75.2 million passengers to and from its over 307 destinations in 2018.
“The fleet age is very important to us, Turkish airline fleet is one of the youngest in the world, the newer the fleet, the more efficient it is. We operate to 307 destinations in the world, we have 336 aircraft in our fleet and in the next years, we plan to increase the fleet to approximately 500”, he said.
On cargo operations, he said the traffic grew from 145,000 tons in 2005 to 1 million tons annually in 2018, adding that it records the highest tons from Lagos where it operates three weekly flights.
Speaking on products and services, Asik said its Business Class catering is the best in the world while the economy catering is number two.
“We always try to keep the travel experience in the Business Class as the best. We have 350 movies in in-flight, we have free on board WI-FI apart from the flying Chef who prepares passengers’ meal onboard, this is why we have the best catering in the world.
“We have the corporate club, which offers benefits such as discount, incentives and excess baggage. We also have the Miles and Smiles where we reward frequent flyers and loyal customers. There is also the Istanbul Tour for transit passengers.. In this programme, we take passengers on sightseeing of historical places in Istanbul and offer them free breakfast and lunch before joining their flights. We fly to more countries in the world than any other airline, so in terms of international destinations, we are number one.