National issues fail to stop Celebi Aviation growing

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Burak Kurt, regional ground handling and cargo director Istanbul for Celebi Aviation

Turkey has had a tough couple of years with foreign airlines reducing flights and the exchange rate crisis, but Celebi Aviation is still growing.

Burak Kurt, regional ground handling and cargo director Istanbul says that political events and the unstable currency have caused the trading market to shrink, reducing Turkey’s cargo volumes.

The country has been affected by political events, the lira plummeting in value and the Central Bank of Turkey benchmark interest rate increasing from 17.75% to 24% in September last year, but 2018 was a successful year for Celebi.

Kurt says Celebi has been focusing on the new Istanbul airport project, something “which will have a great impact on the prestige of our country”.

He says: “We draw our investment plans and growth strategies in line with the targets we set. Our company has been working for this project by establishing dedicated teams in every field we serve. We improved our organisational structure to become stronger and dynamic.”

There have been significant investments this year including the 18,000m2 warehouse at Istanbul Airport, which Celebi moved to on 6 April.

Kurt says: “We’ve been working on this big move for a very long time. As Çelebi, we spent tremendous amount of time and effort on this project. After the move, new airlines have started flights to Istanbul Airport and this created an opportunity for us.”

He adds: “In addition, with the move to Istanbul Airport, new technological shelving systems (ETV and VNA) are being used to maximise our capacity and our operation continues in a powerful and dynamic manner. We have focused on digitisation and digitalisation by working on a global cargo software program.”

Following delays, the new Istanbul airport is now up and running. Kurt expects it will become a cargo hub and strengthen Istanbul and Turkey’s position in the global air cargo market.

He says: “It can reach three continents in three hours flight distance, it has the second largest truck fleet in Europe with more than 65,000 trucks, it has increased flight slot and facility availability and it offers multi-modal transportation opportunities.”

Istanbul is in a strong geographic location, making it a very good transit point.

Kurt says: “It provides economical flights due to less fuel consumption. With the help of maximised cargo capacity reached at Istanbul Airport, there will be a variety of service opportunities for time-sensitive and temperature-sensitive products such as e-commerce products and pharmaceuticals.”

Kurt says that Turkey faces challenges, with its Logistics Performance Index score falling since 2014 but hopefully the new airport and surrounding infrastructure will help improve matters.

He says: “It has now begun to apply new cargo flows from many points of Turkey. At the same time, with the new connection paths, a combination between the air and truck modes is provided. A cargo that is carried by an aircraft can be easily transferred to other modes of transport. With these large investments, it is inevitable that Turkey will escape this downward trend and pass through the upward trend in coming years”

The unstable currency and political events have made business in Turkey more difficult.

Kurt says: “The increase in interest rates in Turkey has reduced investments in the country, and therefore has reduced export rates in sectors. Nowadays, the effects of these have started to decrease.”

He says: “In line with the current technological developments, e-commerce volume is increasing. Exchange rate fluctuations, blockchain logistics applications, digitalisation, integration with new investment projects and new customs gates are other important economic developments closely followed by the logistics sector.”