Abdullah Tuncer Kececi is the General Manager of Turkish Airlines in Nepal. He talked to Nepal Traveller on the challenges and how Turkish Airlines was tackling them in the current situation
Abdullah Tuncer Kececi is the General Manager of Turkish Airlines in Nepal. He has worked closely with Nepal’s travel trade sector and tourism stakeholders for the promotion and enhancement of Nepal as a destination. With the resumption of international flights from September 1, after many months due to the COVID 19 lockdown, the airline industry faces a whole new world of aviation challenges.
He spoke to Nepal Traveller about the challenges and how Turkish Airlines was tackling them in the current situation.
What are Turkish airlines plans now that TIA has opened to international flights? How many flights per week you plan to do and what challenges you face?
During the month of September, we will do weekly one flight since there is a demand on the market. For now, only Nepalis can fly to KTM.
Our pre planned scheduled flights will start from 1st of October. We are planning weekly three flights.
We also need to learn the entry rules for foreigners and restrictions in the country since Nepal is a tourism destination for us.
Since it is a wait and see period for of all us, we are ready to increase the frequency depending on the demand.
How is Turkish Airlines doing internationally in the post COVID 19 situation? What are the major challenges?
As we are all aware, COVID is still affecting the world. The most effected sectors are aviation and tourism sectors.
Nothing is as it was before. However, human nature is strong and adoptive. Every country will definitely find a way forward post COVID 19 and move on. We all have to take precautions. We need safety protocols at every single step.
Turkish Airlines is strictly following the strictest safety protocols at this time. Health and safety is the first priority for us. At this time, we are managing our flights in coordination with the authorities in the countries we fly to.
Nepal Government and Civil Aviation Authority has declared some protocols. We are following these protocols and our own company protocols as well. Currently we have already started flying to 224 international destinations.
Turkey has started allowing tourists. What kind of protocol is being followed? What practices can Nepal adopt and use from this experience?
There are health and safety protocols, quality and hygienic standards and protocols announced by the ministry of health and ministry of tourism for all to follow.
As I said it is not easy for anyone. I can say one of the most important things is to have your own COVID 19 management protocol according to the government protocol.
Education of all the staff is important. Awareness of all guests is very important. Physical distancing, limitation in the number of people, usage of masks and other PPE items and many other precautions are there.
I’m sure Nepal’s Tourism Ministry also has similar protocols and will adopt them soon. We all need to learn how to manage the situation, how to continue our lives after COVID 19 and to live with it.
We should not be scared and have a pessimistic approach. Awareness, educating people behavior, physical distancing is very important. Everything is possible if we take necessary precautions.
What suggestions do you have for the aviation, hospitality and travel trade sector in Nepal on how to cope with these challenges?
This is not the end of life. All of us have to plan for how to get back to work with necessary precautions. Every single person’s life is very important. We should never forget that.
The way to survive and the way to manage this is not sitting at home and waiting until things come back to normal. With all precautions, with following all health and safety protocols, we should start normalizing the tourism industry. All business stake holders should follow the same.
The mental effect and the economic effect of COVID 19 on life also cannot be ignored. Time adds to that.
Nepal has the advantage of natural beauty. That has to be highlighted. It is not the time to have big expectations for tourist movement but we should start from somewhere. A strong message can be given with strong health and safety protocols
Since people were all stuck in their houses for a long period of time, they are looking for somewhere they can travel safely. That is the critical point for the future of the tourism. Without risking any lives, with minimizing all the risks, we should move forward.
Are international airline representatives here in Nepal in discussion with the civil aviation authority? What kind of suggestions and progress is being made?
We are having regular meetings especially at the airport side for health and safety protocols and measurements. . Communication is very important when there is so much uncertainty in every area. Together, with better communication we can manage everything easier.
We all have to understand each other and be supportive in all important and needed areas, from us to the authorities and from them to us. We have to establish a safe travel environment for travelers.
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