By Niki Bakouli/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Turkish Airlines is a success story in business and it’s a name associated with sports in many ways. Partnerships all around the globe with many leading sports brands, like FC Barcelona and Manchester United, are a main marketing tool for the company. The choice of a partnership with Euroleague, thought, and specially the provided charter flights for each of the final four teams were moves that really turned heads all over Europe. Why there is such an investment in European basketball? THY CEO Temel Kotil was ready to give us answers.
-First of all, two year ago it was the presentation of Euroleague’s partnership with Turkish Airlines. Which was the main reason for choosing Euroleague to be the name sponsor and the sport of basketball, cause you have other partnerships in other sports?
“According to data that has been collected, basketball is the most popular sport in Turkey, followed closely by football. It is also a popular sport across the globe, watched by millions in many countries. This combination of popularity both at home and abroad made it an ideal partner for Turkish Airlines. However, as you know, our involvement with sports extends far beyond the Euroleague and encompasses other competitions as well, including both football and golf. The universal appeal of sports works well with THY’s desire to be one of the world’s leading airlines. In both activities, people across the world are brought together”.
-I guess your ideal would be to have a Τurkish team, at Istanbul’s Final Four, right?
“Everyone wants the home team to be successful”.
-When they all left out, what was your first thought?
“It is hard to watch the home players be eliminated, but basketball, like other sports, is about the skill and beauty exhibited by players across the globe. For the good of the sport, we should all want the best team to win, and if that is the home team, so much the better. There is always next year”.
-This year you added charter flights for each finalist, a great idea which everybody applauded. What’s next?
“As a prime sponsor, we look for ways to assist the teams and players. We will continue to do so, but it is hard to know in advance what might be needed in the future. We stand ready to provide assistance wherever it is helpful to do so”.
-Turkish Airlines was a small company, turning into a gigantic, over a dozen of years. With your undoubted managerial skills, what piece of advice would you give to a basketball club owner, in terms of development and financial flourishing?
“Any group, whether a corporation or a sports team, needs a goal. For sports, the goal is clear—to assemble a group of players that works together well to win games. For many corporations, the goals are much more complex and have a great many more moving parts. For airlines, there are also many external factors, like political unrest and the price of fuel, that are beyond the control of the company. The goal at Turkish Airlines is to provide a safe, reliable transportation network that brings top service and value to its customers. Success generally comes to those enterprises that set high goals and do everything possible to achieve them, so being the best at what you do is at the heart of every winning team. THY has become a winning team”.
-Has it been a slow or a fast procedure to the top? Can you name the best parts of this journey?
“In terms of our overall history, the recent growth and success has been rather fast—the result of a concerted effort, begun in the 21st century, to make THY one of the world’s premier airlines. It is always nice to win awards, which show that your customers recognize staff efforts and affirm the value of the work that is being done. Each award shows that we have done things right, and as a service company those are important moments”.
-You began with how many flights and which were the destination? And now you have how many flights?
“As of 2012, Turkish Airlines has flights to 40 domestic and 153 international destinations–with more to come. Ten years ago, in 2002, those numbers were 28 domestic and 79 international for a total of 107 worldwide. In ten years, THY has grown its destinations by almost 80%”.