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Antalya Airport’s Decisive Actions Provide Peace of Mind to Travellers

Issue 5 - 2020
Antalya Airport’s Decisive Actions Provide Peace of Mind to Travellers
In this exclusive interview, FRAPORT TAV General Manager Peers Mr. Deniz Varol and Mr.Bilgehan Yılmaz explain the detailed preventative measures implemented to ensure safe travel via Antalya Airport. With the highest of standards and expertise, the entire FRAPORT TAV team awaits passengers and welcomes visitors to stay and enjoy the allure and beauty of Antalya.

Aviation Turkey: First of all, we would like to thank you for your time. Antalya Airport is a critical destination for Charter airlines which constitute an essential part of tourism. What was the share of charter flights and charter airlines in your total yearly traffic in period before the unprecedented era we have been going through? And as an airport operator, how do you evaluate the impact of charter and scheduled airlines over your income table? 

Deniz Varol (DV) and Bilgehan Yılmaz (BY): Nearly 95% of international flights are composed of charter flights while the remaining 5% are conducted by scheduled airlines. On the other hand, the domestic air traffic is fully composed of scheduled flights. This breakdown of international flights does not have a negative impact over the revenue yet still it requires substantial planning and follow-up. Last-minute changes and resource planning requirements are among the most critical problems that need to be solved in such operations.

Our revenues are fixed based on the fees identified by the PPP charges tariff announced by the General Directorate of State Airports Authority. Therefore, the charter / scheduled flights ratio has the same effect over the revenues as well.  

Aviation Turkey: What types of changes have been made and which measures have been implemented concerning passengers at the airport in response to the pandemic? 

DV & BY: The measures adopted at Antalya Airport within the scope of the regulations notified by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation start with the mask control at the entrance of the airport and continue with the warning visuals and messages that are reflected over various billboards and digital screens at the entrances of the parking lots and terminal area which are needed in order to grab the attention of travelers, reminding them about the requirements of using masks, maintaining social distance and obeying hygiene rules. At the entrances, passengers who do not wear masks are not allowed inside the terminal buildings, the staff in charge checks the HES codes and the body temperatures of the passengers and staff are checked via the thermal cameras. Lines are drawn to create social distancing awareness at the terminal entrances and at all potential waiting areas set for our passengers inside the terminal. Hygiene and disinfecting processes are uninterruptedly conducted at all points of the terminals inside Antalya Airport. Automatic sanitizer dispensers have been placed at several points at the airport and all sitting areas inside the airport have been rearranged in line with social distancing rules. Utilization of personal protective equipment by all the staff operating at the airport has been maintained. Visuals on the measures to be adopted against the pandemic were installed at various points across the terminals and audio warnings on precautions are announced on the loudspeaker at certain intervals. On account of the plexiglass barriers placed at all areas such as the check-in, boarding and passport counters, cash desks of stores, information desks, etc. where the staff conducts face to face communication with our passengers, contacting and the risk of infection have been minimized at Antalya Airport. POS terminals enabling transactions via contactless credit cards to minimize cash transactions have been activated in all stores. The sitting areas in food courts have been rearranged according to social distancing rules and food is served with disposable cutlery, plates, cups, napkins, and spices. Fresh air is supplied to all terminals by the ventilation systems of Antalya Airport. 

Aviation Turkey: What kind of practices particularly regarding working order, workplace environment, hygiene and cleaning are planned for staff that are in direct contact with passengers in various departments of the airport? 

DV & BY: All staff active in the airport have started to utilize personal protective equipment to the extent required by their workplace environment. Plexiglass barriers have been installed where staff directly contact the passengers in order to minimize the risk of infection through minimizing the contact, these are located at numerous points such as the check-in, boarding and passport counters, cash desks of the stores and help desks. Training on social distancing, hygiene and other measures against the pandemic are being provided to the staff regularly and disinfectants are being provided for the utilization of all staff in the food courts, duty free shops and in all commercial areas. Rest areas and dressing rooms of the staff have been rearranged to comply with social distancing rules, these measures have been implemented into use in a controlled manner. Single-use equipment such as disposable cups, stirrers, etc. are being used during tea and coffee breaks. 

Meetings and training sessions have been delayed; compulsory training sessions are being conducted in line with social distancing rules with the minimum number of participants or in the form of distance/remote training while mandatory meetings are being executed through teleconferences or video conferences. Necessary methods have been identified to keep employees in risk groups away from the office such as the implementation of work-from-home method or compensatory work, allowing annual leaves, short-term working allowance that would protect the employees against the pandemic while also supporting them financially. 

Aviation Turkey: The air quality inside the airport and aircraft is amongst the most discussed topics nowadays. Which actions have been taken to increase the air quality inside the terminals and for sterilization? Will the passengers experience major changes in the ventilation and air conditioning systems when compared to the process prior to the pandemic? 

DV & BY: All air conditioning plants inside our terminals are being operated in a way to provide the circulation of fresh air at the maximum level. The specified maintenance periods of the air conditioning systems have been revised and plans required to increase the frequency of maintenance have been made. All filters within the air conditioning plants have been cleaned and replaced (irrespective of their condition and cleanness) with new ones upon the declaration of the pandemic. All air curtains at the entrances and exits of terminals and hand dryers (located at wet areas) have been deactivated as they operate with internal air. 

Aviation Turkey: Do you plan to launch a special implementation to identify violations of social distancing rules and for intervention in cases of such violations?

DV & BY: We have been welcoming only the passengers to the terminals, and domestic passengers are requested to state their HES Codes and entry to terminals without masks is prohibited. Prior to the security checks, at the entrance of the terminals, both passengers and staff pass through the thermal cameras to check their body temperatures. The mascot of Fraport TAV Antalya Airport and all staff in charge are warning our passengers to keep social distance. 

Aviation Turkey: Let’s take a look at the big picture at the airport. Which item is the most costly as part of the changes made to adapt to the new order after the pandemic?

DV & BY: The highest expenditures have been made for the rearrangement of spaces, warning signs and preventive healthcare equipment required by the measures adopted against COVID-19.

Aviation Turkey: Have any changes, transformation and innovations, been conducted or accelerated which were previously planned yet could not be launched due to various reasons, during the lengthy pandemic period when operations were suspended?

DV & BY: During this rather long period, corporate training has been provided to our entire staff via virtual platforms. Moreover, the beginning of the season and the suspension of flights coincided. Yet, the activities that needed to be conducted were completed prior to the travel season. Before the start of the travel season, quarantine and laboratory units were launched rapidly by taking advantage of the period of suspended operations. 

Aviation Turkey: What are your expectations and targets regarding the number of passengers at your airport by the end of 2020 in line with sectoral reports, contacts with airlines and information relayed by the authorities and governments? When comparing numbers to last year, is there a passenger decline limit or number that would indicate that the pandemic process and changes have been successfully weathered? 

DV & BY: We have not identified a specific figure for the time being as the performance of countries play a major role in this regard. The date of the opening of the borders of countries such as Russia and Germany, and the demands of the passengers are quite critical. Declaring a figure would not be appropriate at this time. According to us, a decline of even one passenger compared to last year is considered a failure. Our target is to achieve an increase in the number of arriving passengers. Therefore, our answer to the second part of your question is that we may declare that we have weathered the storm, and that the effects of the pandemic were bypassed only when have reached our previous figures.

Aviation Turkey: Are there any incentive packages and conveniences offered to encourage new airlines to operate at your airport after flight restrictions have been lifted?

DV & BY: We are carefully following the requirements of our airlines during the relaunch of air traffic during the pandemic and fulfilling their demands through communicating with them daily. In 2019, our Airport served over 35 million passengers and we are Europe’s 12th largest and Turkey’s second largest Airport. However, every airline launching its operations at Antalya Airport as of June 2020 is considered to be an airline conducting its first flight to our airport and we support them in every aspect that we can as the Terminal Operator of Antalya Airport. Especially during the relaunch process of traffic, we have been starting off every route by sharing informing with our passengers on a daily basis via all our channels of communication. 

Furthermore, within the scope of the support programs we have been conducting for the last two years as Antalya Airport, we wish to continue to support all the long-haul flights and the flights to be conducted during the IATA winter season. Taking the great mass of travelers impatient for a journey and the relaunch of traffic in 2020 into consideration, we project that the summer season of 2020 will be extended. Therefore, we envisage that many flights that are expected to be conducted particularly in November will benefit from our winter incentives.

Aviation Turkey: Accompanied by a light show and theatrical smoke, DJ Burak Yeter recently gave a concert in front of a passenger airplane at Antalya Airport as part of the ‘Stay with music in nature, Dream of Antalya’ project. The images from this project and performance will be used in the introductory film on Antalya which will be broadcasted across the globe. As Fraport TAV, you have been taking part in various projects that contribute to the promotion of the city and our country. Could you inform us on your mission and your activities on the marketing of this city and our country in foreign countries?

DV & BY: Fraport TAV Antalya Airport is highly pleased to support projects that promote Turkey and Antalya in particular. With DJ Burak Yeter and the Antalya Promotion Foundation, we were able to execute a very nice concert and video shooting at the apron of Antalya Airport in recent weeks within the scope of the ‘Stay with music in nature, Dream of Antalya’ project. As you also mentioned, this introductory film is will be used to show the whole world the beauties of Antalya, displaying the measures adopted and reassuring the globe that Antalya is a safe destination.

Other than that, we are the main sponsor of the Ironman 70.3 Turkey (a triathlon race) that brings thousands of domestic and international racers to Antalya and the Runatolia Marathon also bringing thousands of racers to the city. We have been displaying visuals over various billboards, digital screens, our website and our social media accounts in order to support the year of Aspendos last year and the year of Patara this year.

In addition to sports events, we have been supporting many cultural events such as the International Antalya Film Festival, Antalya Piano Festival, International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival.

Aviation Turkey: Thank you 

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