ACI EUROPE Airport Business - Spring 2018

Airport Business 2 4 S p r i n g 2 0 1 8 Turkey’s airports have certainly bounced back, with traffic up 11% in 2017, the “missing year” of 2016 produced overall declines of 4.4%, although that was felt far more at some airports than others – Antalya, once Turkey’s second-biggest airport, was heavily exposed to a Russian boycott, with the result that traffic was halved. The top Turkish airports in 2017 Istanbul Atatürk up 6% to 63.73m Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen up 6.1% to 31.39m Antalya up 38% to 25.93m Ankara up 22% to 15.85m Izmir up 7.3% to 12.82m T U R K I S H A I R P O R T S Turkey’s airports return to spectacular growth A discussion with DHMI General Manager and Chair, Funda Ocak . Interview by Paul Hogan F unda Ocak was appointed the DHMI Director General in October 2016, the very first woman to hold the post (although it was noticeable that Ocak did not once refer to gender as an issue during our entire interview). Ocak’s promotion to the top job of the 55-strong state airports group (and controller of 1 mil- lion square kilometres of airspace) crowns a 35-year career with DHMI, including service as Deputy DG and a member of the board since 2007. Her complete familiarity with Turkey’s airports industry, and a long career marked by “many different periods and many changes” gave a significant advantage in preparing Ocak for taking command at the time of the greatest uncertainty since Turkey became a major global aviation player. “Focusing our dreams on a global future” However, after the multiple shocks of 2016 (commonly referred to as the ‘missing year’), 2017 saw a solid return to stability, the return of tourists, and the return of transfer passengers over Istanbul Atatürk. The resulting 11% growth in Turkey last year produced 193 million passengers at DHMI airports – a new best-ever year for Turkey (and making it Europe’s 5th biggest air transport country, just behind France). “The new growth is very joyful for us,” says Ocak. “2017 was the year of rehabilitation – the changes of the last two years have been very rapid, but equally DHMI has proved that we are very fast at adjusting and taking action. Now, in 2018, we are predicting that we will maintain these improvements, and traffic will exceed 210 million passengers.” Ocak, believes the growth trend in aviation is linked to Turkey being a global aviation connecting centre and a transit hub, also the growth in economics is linked with the avia- tion sector and is acting as the main dynamo, and DHMI is at the core of this sector. After her appointment to duty, Ocak stated that DHMI management has under- gone reconstruction. One of her main objectives is to update the current structure and to adapt to the needs of the day. “We have taken important steps in marketing our experience on the international market, (Source: DHMI statistics) Touring the new airport: Funda Ocak, General Manager and Chair, DHMI; Ahmet Arslan, Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication; and Yusuf Akçayoğlu, CEO İGA Airports Construction. Ocak: “Progress of construction is very pleasing, and achieving this in just 42 months is something which will put us in the book of GuinnessWorld Records.”