Turkish Cargo aims for further growth after improvements in 2020

By Damian Brett

Turhan Özen

Turkish Cargo is preparing for further growth in its airfreight volumes after gaining market share in 2020.

Speaking during Cargo Talks, an online event hosted by Turkish Cargo, the airline’s chief cargo officer Turhan Ozen revealed that the airline had last year seen its cargo volumes increase to 6.7bn freight tonne kms (FTKs) from 6.6bn FTK in 2019, despite the overall market recording a decline.

This comes as the airline utilised 50 of its passenger aircraft for cargo operations, as well as its 25 freighters.

As a result, the airline has moved up from being the eighth busiest airline in terms of cargo traffic to sixth place, Ozen said.

The carrier’s market share, meanwhile, increased from 3.7% in 2019 to 4.7% last year.

And it has set the target of becoming one of the top three cargo carriers in the world.

During the presentation, Ozen outlined several initiatives that he hopes will help the carrier continue to grow in 2021.

The carrier will in the spring move all operations over to its new facility, named Smartist, at Istanbul Airport.

At the moment, the airline’s cargo operations are split between Istanbul and Ataturk airports, with cargo needing to be transferred between the two.

“Our facility, Smartist, is built to reach 4m tonnes of annual capacity when all phases are completed,” said Ozen.

“By moving into Smartist we will also complete our transition to a single hub system, and we will provide our customers with [shorter] connection times and better service quality.

“In Smartist we aim to use modern technology such as automated storage systems, 3D ULD planning and unmanned ground vehicles and integrate them fully into warehouse management systems and work process.”

The airline will also continue to invest in its digital capabilities and will soon offer its capacity through online booking platforms and offer forwarders API connections so they can book capacity directly.

“Recently, we finalised the development of API gateways to directly integrate with our forwarder customers and digital marketplaces,” said Ozen.

“With these API gateways, forwarders, with whom we integrate, are now able to directly make bookings, manage the spot rate process, see current schedules and other fee types and take the advantage of special offers.

“In addition, when it is fully integrated with all leading digital markets in the industry, all forwarders will be able to perform online bookings, [access] spot fees and cargo tracking transaction. In this way our customers will be able to perform their transactions online 24/7 without any intermediaries.”

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