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Fatih Haras, Regional Cargo Manager for Turkish Airlines

The recent establishment of Turkish Cargo as the air cargo transportation arm of Turkey’s national airline indicates the company’s dedication to providing high quality air cargo services. With six years of experience working at airlines and over a year at Turkish Cargo, Mr. Fatih Haras has recently been appointed as Regional Cargo Manager (Thailand) for Turkish Airlines. He has now been in Thailand for two and a half months. “This is my first assignment overseas. I was a key account manager before; I traveled overseas and met with key forwarders to discuss global and regional strategies with them.”

“Now I am managing people, managing the office, as well as sales, marketing and operations, which is very challenging and exciting for me. I’m responsible for our air freight operations in Thailand and Cambodia.”

Regarding his first few months in Thailand, Mr. Haras shared his impressions and goals, “I have met with most of the staff and some key forwarders. People here are very welcoming, with great hospitality. They are similar to Turkish people; in fact Thai people are even friendlier. Also food here is very good, hot and spicy.” He continued, “Even though I am in overseeing many tasks here, I do not think of myself as a supreme commander. I am more of a team player; I believe we have to work as a team and everyone has to do their job well.”

Mr. Haras also told us a bit about his background. He has a managerial degree in Engineering, years of experience in IT, and a passion for sales and marketing. “I was born in Adana in the south of Turkey, close to Syria. After graduating from Istanbul Technical University with a degree in Managerial Engineering, I started my career at a bank. I worked there for 8 months, then joined the military service. After that I worked for an IT Company as a Laptop Marketing Manager. Later, I joined Turkish Airlines as an IT Business and Project Manager, in charge of projects for ground operations; I was successful in many projects including transfer passenger management and baggage tracing system.”

Before joining Turkish Airlines Mr. Haras worked in marketing, and he couldn’t resist getting back into marketing again. “There was a position available in air cargo and I jumped in without hesitation. Air cargo is a very competitive sector. It is the nature of the industry that customers are sensitive about price. ” Although price is one major issue in the air freight industry, he believes the most important factor is service. “Customers shipping via air want their cargo to arrive at the destination quickly. Thus, speed is more important than the shipping cost – otherwise they would have shipped ship by sea. On the service side, there are some improvements we will implement in Bangkok in order to improve our processes. More importantly, at our Istanbul hub, we are consolidating our strategy with Turkish Cargo’s global strategy. We are very eager to enhance our services and operations, which is why we are opening a new storage area in the current terminal at our hub in Istanbul.”

Big Plans for a Big Future

Currently, Turkish Cargo in Thailand offers a weekly freighter service every Wednesday and provides substantial belly capacity with daily B777 flights and a weekly A333 flight to Istanbul. . Total capacity is approximately 270 tons each week. In the future, Mr. Haras hopes to increase the service capacity three folds. “For the company and the customers’ benefit, I want everything to be improved accordingly. If possible, I wish to be able to respond to every request from customers. I do not want to simply benchmark ourselves with the industry standard and say that our service is on par with the others. I am always looking forward and continuing to improve our operations and service. I will try to push our Istanbul headquarters to add frequencies. By the time I leave here, I would like to be able to say that when I arrived, we operated one freighter per week, but now, we have three flights per week. Also, I am planning to increase cooperation with GSAs.. Most importantly, I want to develop close relationships with customers and would love to be remembered by both our own people and customers also. I like to work closely with customers and help them solve problems with my expertise in marketing, IT, business and project management.”

“I want to be truthful and conduct business with integrity and high moral standards.”

Trust is one key factor in business relationships and Mr. Haras builds his relationships with customers on trust. When a customer wants cargo space, I have always been frank with them. If there are some risks of not being able to get a space allocated, we will let them know openly, rather than make a promise and turn them down later. One month ago, we had a problem in Istanbul. All flights were canceled due to very bad weather conditions. There was some excess cargo, but one of our customers had and urgent shipment that could not be sent. I was very sorry that I had to tell them that I could not help them. Eventually they sent me an email saying that they managed to get space from another airline, and I could not help but smile. Though I lost the cargo, I managed to keep the relationship.”

Under the management of Mr. Haras, Turkish Cargo is going to build a stronger bond built on trust with Thai shippers. As Istanbul is a key gateway to CIS, Russia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa; Turkish Cargo will be playing a more important role in the Thai air freight market in the near future.