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Ayşem Sargın, Boeing Turkey Managing Director and Country Executive ''We are Pioneering to Make Sustainable Aviation Fuels a Reality!''

Issue 13 - 2022
Ayşem Sargın, Boeing Turkey Managing Director and Country Executive ''We are Pioneering to Make Sustainable Aviation Fuels a Reality!''

 Aviation Turkey: Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries. How would you best describe Boeing in the field of commercial jetliners? Could you please provide some key facts (such as market share in commercial airplanes, number of airplanes delivered so far and commercial airplane backlog) about the company for our readers? 

Ayşem Sargın: Boeing Commercial Airplanes, a business unit of The Boeing Company, is committed to being the leader in commercial aviation by offering airplanes that deliver superior design, efficiency and value to customers around the world. There are more than 10,000 Boeing commercial jetliners in service, flying passengers and freight more efficiently than competing models in the market. More than 5,700 Boeing airplanes are currently on order. Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ backlog is 4,239 airplanes through June 30, 2022. Our backlog continues to support multiple years of production and is diverse by geographic region and business model.

Aviation Turkey: In November 2020 Boeing received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to return the 737 MAX to operations. According to Boeing’s 2022 Q1 results the 737 MAX production and deliveries have been increased, the 737 production rate is expected to increase to 31 airplanes per month during the 2022 Q2 and the fleet has flown more than one million total flight hours since late 2020. Can you elaborate on the current status of efforts regarding the global safe return to service of the 737 MAX? How many airlines around the world are currently flying with 737 MAX and what kind of feedbacks have you received so far on the global safe return to service of the 737 MAX?

Ayşem Sargın:There has remained no question mark over the flight safety of MAX planes after the detailed work carried out. Since the FAA’s ungrounding in Nov. 2020, airlines have safely flown more than 500,000 revenue flights, totaling more than 1.2 million flight hours with schedule reliability above 99 percent. We continue to work with regulators and our customers to ensure the continued safe return of the 737 MAX to service worldwide. 190 out of 195 countries have approved a return to service. More than 40 operators have more than 600 737 MAX in revenue service.

Aviation Turkey: Boeing is a pioneer in creating new technologies and solutions to ensure aerospace is sustainable for future generations. Can you elaborate on Boeing’s efforts and projects that focused on safe and sustainable aerospace? How would you summarize Boeing’s ongoing sustainability projects with global partners?

AyşemSargın: As Boeing, we support and align with the aviation industry goals for carbon neutral growth from 2020 going forward and commitment to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050. This emission trajectory aligns with the 2 degree scenario of the Paris Agreement. Achieving that trajectory relies on continued innovation in future airplane technology, deployment of modernized air traffic management infrastructure, and the scale-up of production and use of sustainable aviation fuel. 

Designing and building more advanced products with greater fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions is a key tenet of our business. Since 2003, we have invested $60 billion in new technologies to improve efficiency. This investment helps meet aviation’s environmental goals and its business needs. We’ve also made substantial progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our worksites and manufacturing facilities as well as building new generations of aircraft. Our operations achieved net-zero emissions at manufacturing and worksites in 2020 by expanding conservation and renewable energy use while tapping responsible offsets for the remaining greenhouse gas emissions. “Everything for Zero” is our multi-pronged approach to reducing emissions.

Fleet renewal has a great impact on the objectives of increared efficiency and sustainability in aviation. New airplanes provide significant efficiency gains and the airplanes that we deliver this year are as much as 25 to 40 percent more fuel efficient than the airplanes they are replacing. Fully deploying the latest generation airplanes is the most significant contribution to carbon emissions reduction available over the next decade. 

In parallel, we work with airlines, government customers, air navigation service providers and airports on efficiency improvements. These include procedures such as continous descent approaches and equipment upgrades such as GPS-based navigation for more direct routings. We also develop services to leverage data for fuel efficiency, help customers optimize flight planning, and provide pilots with real time weather and traffic information. All these collaborative efforts of the aviation industry collectively can reduce emissions by 12 percent. 

Besides, sustainable fuels are key to long term, large scale CO2 emissions reductions that airplane technology cannot achieve, and offer the best potential to significantly reduce emissions on larger, longer range airplens for the next several decades. Sustainably produced jet fuel reduces CO2 emissions by as mush as 80 percent on a gallon for gallon basis. 

Aviation Turkey: The use of biofuels in commercial airplanes has gained critical ground during last two decades and Boeing has been an industry leader in fostering the development of biofuels. In this context aided by Boeing’s technical expertise, Virgin Atlantic flew the world’s first airline biofuel test flight on a 20% blend made from coconut and babassu oil in one fuel tank of a Boeing 747-400 from London to Amsterdam on Feb. 24, 2008 and in 2018, Boeing flew the world’s first 100% biofuel flight on the ecoDemonstrator’s FedEx Express 777 Freighter flight-test airplane.  What can you tell us about Boeing’s efforts to develop sustainable aviation fuels and to encourage the adoption of sustainable fuels in commercial aviation to reduce the environmental damage from fossil fuels? When do you plan to start deliveries of commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% biofuel?

Ayşem Sargın: We are pioneering to make sustainable aviation fuels a reality, partnering globally with airlines, industry, governments and research institutions to expand limited supplies and reduce the fuels’ cost. We have been working with airlines, engine manufacturers and others to certify and conduct biofuel test flights since 2008 and gain approval for commercial use in 2011. In 2018, our ecoDemonstrator flight test program made the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% sustainable fuels with a 777 Freighter, in collaboration with FedEx Express. We partnered with Rolls-Royce and World Energy to carry out a successful test flight of the Rolls-Royce Flying Testbed aircraft using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on a Trent 1000 engine. This illustrates that SAF can fully replace conventional jet fuel over the long term and is a viable renewable energy solution to decarbonize aviation over the next 20-30 years. To accelerate innovation for current and future airplane efficiency, our ecoDemonstrator flying test bed program uses partnerships, to take promising features and services out of the lab and tests them in the air. The ecoDemonstrator has tested over 200 projects on eight airplanes. 

As an another example, we signed a supply agreement with EPIC Fuels for two million gallons of blended SAF to power our Commercial Airplanes operations in Washington state and South Carolina through 2022. It is the largest announced SAF procurement agreement by an airframer, showing our commitment to decarbonizing aviation. In this scope, we also announced a partnership last year in July with Sky NRG to scale the availability and use of SAF globally, and we will also invest in SkyNRG Americas' SAF production project. Ultimaltely, we have committed that our commercial airplanes will be capable and certified to fly on 100 percent SAF by 2030. 

Aviation Turkey: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge global disruption on both commercial and defense operations and programs. The aviation industry has been slowly recovering from coronavirus pandemic-induced downturn starting from 2021. How and to what extent has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Boeing’s commercial aviation business operations including production, manufacturing, and supply chain as well as your domestic and international programs? When do you expect to return to pre-pandemic levels?

Ayşem Sargın: The aerospace industry has made important progress in the recovery. As the flying public and governments have confidence in health and safety during air travel, the passenger traffic rebounds swiftly in the past two years and we have recovered to the pre-pandemic levels especially in short haul flights in many parts of the world. Our industry continues to serve an essential role of bringing people together and transporting critical supplies.

The global market is recovering largely as we projected in 2021. Demand for domestic air travel had led the recovery, with intra-regional markets have followed as health and travel restrictions ease. We have also seen an increase in long-haul travel and expect it to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 to 2024.

We've seen this phased recovery translate into demand for more than 1,000 737 MAX orders since Nov. 2020, mainly supporting domestic and regional international markets. We anticipate demand for widebody aircraft to take longer to return in line with the international traffic recovery.

Aviation Turkey: How is Boeing addressing the future of commercial aviation? What kind of new products do you see a demand for in the coming years? What can the industry expect to see on the horizon as new products and services from Boeing to further strengthen its market-leading product lineup and meet the evolving needs of global customers?

Ayşem Sargın: As an aviation pioneer and industry leader, we are always looking for future technologies to move people, goods and ideas around the world. We are testing uncrewed electric-powered aerial vehicles for passengers and cargo aimed at market segments that will reduce urban congestion and emissions from vehicles on the ground. For example, we have made a $450 Million investment in Wisk to advance certified autonomous electric flight (future pilotless flying taxis). 

Wisk is an advanced air mobility (AAM) company dedicated to delivering safe, everyday flight for everyone. Wisk’s self-flying, eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) air taxi, will make it possible for passengers to skip the traffic and get to their destination faster. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and New Zealand, Wisk is an independent company backed by The Boeing Company and Kitty Hawk Corporation. With over a decade of experience and over 1500 test flights, Wisk is shaping the future of daily commutes and urban travel, safely and sustainably. Wisk is on a journey to deliver safe, autonomous, all-electric, everyday flight.

Aviation Turkey: Supporting both airline operators with commercial jetliners and the Government with defense platforms Boeing has a strong, long-standing partnership with Turkey for 77 years. How would you summarize Boeing’s involvement in Turkey over the last decades? Can you elaborate on the footprint of Boeing in Turkish commercial aviation sector?

Ayşem Sargın: We are proud of our long-standing relationship with Turkey for more than 70 years, supporting both airline operators with commercial jets and the government with defense platforms. This partnership continues to grow and develop as we deliver high technology products to our Turkish customers and partners supported by ever-growing number of Turkish companies in various programs.

We launched a strategic partnership program with Turkey in a few years ago, which is called the “Boeing Turkey National Aerospace Initiative (NAI).” With this program, we aim to support Turkey’s rise as a global player in aviaiton and increase Turkey’s contribution to Boeing’s global competitiveness. Accordingly, we identified mutually beneficial areas for collaboration between Turkey and Boeing, including industry, technology, services and training. We have taken our collaboration with Turkey to a different dimension through this program. We opened our first engineering center in Turkey. We have increased the number of our Turkish suppliers and the supply volume from Turkey with an increasing collaboration with the Turkish industry. I believe that our strategic partnership with Turkey under NAI will continue and develop further.   

Aviation Turkey: What are your predictions for commercial aviation in Turkey in terms of growth, challenges and opportunities? How do you see the commercial airplanes market developing in Turkey and how does Boeing provide support services in country? 

Ayşem Sargın: Turkey is among our priority growth markets. As the world’s 19th largest economy, Turkey has a peculiar advantage of being at a very unique geography between the East and West. In aviation, geography is a very important asset for countries. Turkey’s convenient location makes it a natural hub for aviation. Istanbul is optimally situated within a 4-hour flying range from 55 countries. This means 1.59 Billion people, $39 Trillion GDP, and $7.6 Trillion trade volume at a 4-hour flight distance. The opening of the New Istanbul Airport is a landmark in Turkey’s growth in this industry.

The growth of Turkish aviation sector outpaced most of the market in the past decade, this is remarkable and owes to Turkey’s focused steps towards the growth of aviation in every respect. Of course, we saw a slowdown in air travel during the pandemic. Nevertheless, it is a great success that Turkish Airlines resumed flights with correct measures even during such hard times, and made a strong start this year with a swıft recovery after the pandemic. As the Turkish aviation industry proved its resilience amid the pandemic in every field including industrial production and air transport, we believe that this high value-added industry will strenghten Turkey’s positioning in the global avation ecosystem and continue to contribute increasingly to Turkey’s economic growth.

Aviation Turkey: Considering the facts that 65% of Boeing’s supply is outsourced and the company makes over US$40 Billion in purchases per year, What can you tell us about the current status of your technological cooperation with Turkish suppliers and Boeing’s supply chain here in Turkey? Can you elaborate on the current value of annual purchases from Turkey/Turkish suppliers and targets for the future?

Ayşem Sargın: I am proud to say that all our next generation commercial aircraft have parts coming from the Turkish industry. We have more than 20 suppliers in Turkey and we are continuing to grow our supply base here. Under Boeing Turkey National Aerospace Initiative, we had launched its Turkey Supplier Development Program (SDP), a unique program designed to support Turkey’s global competitiveness in aerospace. SDP aims to increase Turkey’s share in the Boeing supply chain, and at a larger scale, Turkish industry’s share in the global aerospace supply chain through industrial training, capability assessment, and mentoring and targeted development activities. We procure various parts that require advanced manufacturing techniques from Turkish suppliers. These parts include but not limited to 787 elevator, cargo barrier and horizontal leading edge; 737 wing tips, elevator, tab assemblies and fan cowl; 777X turning parts and up lock assembly. 

More than 300 aerospace professionals from 80 Turkish suppliers (aerospace companies) were trained by Boeing since the launch of Supplier Development Program. Our pool of suppliers that are bid ready has increased from two to six. In paralle, these new bid ready suppliers also received their first direct RFQs from Boeing. Also, both Turkish Aerospace and Kale are part of the Boeing Premier Bidder Program.

In March this year, Boeing signed a direct supply agreement with HMS Makina, one of the Turkish companies producing for the aviation division. HMS Makina started manufacturing various modules for Boeing 737 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft within the scope of the contract. In addition to this contract, the company continues to supply components to Boeing’s other manufacturing partners. This agreement we signed with HMS Makina is a clear statement of our belief in Turkey and the world-class capability of our partners in the Turkish aviation industry. 

As of today, we annually place 200 million dollars supply chain work in Turkey and believe that this figure will increse with the programs that we have implement. As our Turkish suppliers acquire certification capabilities to manufacture not only for Boeing but also many other manufacturers through these programs, I think that we will see the multiplier effect of these programs on the Turkish aerospace exportation.  

Aviation Turkey: Can you elaborate on where Turkey falls in the strategies of Boeing, in out-sourcing and building up a global supplier network and how could Turkey contribute better? 

Ayşem Sargın: Beyond its growing capacity as an aviation hub, Turkey is also a major resource country for us. As Boeing, we have witnessed the high capability and growth potential of the Turkish aerospace industry for years. aerospace industry is always growing and need investment for new technologies. It is very crucial to remain competitive in the global system, and we have many successful suppliers that have achieved this. Our Turkish partners and suppliers in aerospace industry and services contribute to Boeing's global success by helping us increase our quality, lower our costs, and thereby help enhance our productivity.

Similarly, our research and technology partnerships in Turkey help us be at the forefront of cutting edge technologies, such as composites, thermoplastics, additive manufacturing, and data analytics. Today, Boeing’s Turkish engineers are working the systems that are used in all Boeing planes, and we are getting very positive results in terms of technical expertise, knowledge, efficiency and diversity.   

Aviation Turkey: In 2017, Boeing Turkey launched the National Aerospace Initiative (NAI), jointly with the Presidency of Defense Industries. As a strategic partnership that contributes to both the growth of Boeing in Turkey and the growth and competitiveness of Turkey’s aerospace sector, in conjunction with targets set by Turkey’s Vision 2023 the NAI is also an indication of Boeing’s belief in the future of Turkey. How would you summarize the efforts and projects realized within the scope of NAI so far?

Ayşem Sargın: Boeing Turkey National Aerospace Initiative outlines a strategic framework that aligns our investment and programs with our stakeholders and business partners around four key areas: industrial development, technology acceleration, services collaboration and advanced skilling.

In the area of technology acceleration, we established our first Engineering and Technology Center in Istanbul in December 2018. This center develops technologies that Boeing adopts globally, while adding to the existing engineering capabilities in Turkey, bringing the country closer to its target to become a global player in aerospace. Our engineering and R&D partnership with Turkey also covers joint research programs with universities. 

In the area of services collaboration, we positioned Turkish Technic as a strategic regional supplier for Boeing for line maintenance and heavy maintenance of airplanes, as well as component services and repair in 2018. We believe that our partnership with Turkish Technic will continue and develop further in the future. 

Our Supplier Development Program is a key component of the industrial development pillar of NAI. This collaboration envisions a greater share for the Turkish aviation industry in the global aerospace supply chain. Our supply chain work placements in Turkey reached 2 billion dollars in the last 10 years.

In the area of advance skilling, we have many projects that include pilot training, training of existing and potential suppliers, university collaboration programs, R&D activities, and education programs that encourage next generations to get into the aerospace industy. With these programs, we aim to contribute to the talent pipeline that Turkey’s growing aviation industry needs. 

Our collaboration with Istanbul Technical University (ITU) received high level recognition through the “High Honor Award” granted by the Council of Higher Education in 2018 for its contribution to aerospace research, technology, education and human resource development. Also, M.Sc. program on Aerospace Structures and Material which was jointly launched by Boeing, TAI and ITU in 2019, Boeing-THY Pilot Training Partnership Initiative launched in March 2019 are among the investments that we have been making in line with this pillar.

Aviation Turkey: With an aim to increase the participation of its supplier network in Turkey prior to the 737 MAX crisis Boeing launched a “Supplier Development Program” in late 2017 and then established an “Engineering and Technology Center” that focusing on design engineering and R&D activities at Teknopark Istanbul in late 2018.  Can you elaborate on the importance of Boeing Turkey Engineering and Technology Center, and the projects performed at this Center during last 4 years?

Ayşem Sargın: Located in Teknopark Istanbul, we carry out engineering activities in various fields as well as focusing on technology development and material-oriented research. I believe that this center plays an important role in enriching Turkey’s aerospace ecosystem and connecting it to the global aerospace industry. 

The diversity of engineering capabilities in Turkey enables us to focus on different projects at this center. For that reason, engineering comes to the fore as being among the fields with highest growth potential in Turkey. Also, the strong aerospace ecosystem in Turkey and its local manufacturing capabilities support the growth of our center with collaborations in the fields of research and technology development.  Now, we are developing together with our partners in Turkey the next generation technologies on Boeing’s agenda. We have industry partners like Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI),  that we develop composite and thermoplastic technologies together, as well as university partners like Istanbul Technical University and Sabancı University. 

 Aviation Turkey: As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy Boeing Turkey has been focusing on corporate citizenship projects in a wide variety of fields from education to health, human services and arts and culture since 2000 in Turkey. How would you summarize the efforts and corporate citizenship projects realized during last decade and to be carried out in 2022?

Ayşem Sargın: We have a long-standing corporate citizenship program in Turkey primarily focused on education, training, and skills development today. Our education programs encompass a wide range of fields including early learning, K–12 education, vocational training, and entrepreneurial training. We partner with non-governmental organizations in Turkey to develop and implement these programs. 

We recently partnered with FIRST Scandinavia and the Science Heroes Association to bring the Mobile Newton Room concept to Turkey to support the development of strategic skills needed in Turkey’s growing aviation sector. As part of this project, the mobile classroom which is currently placed at Süleyman Nazif Anatolian High School in Avcılar, Istanbul, will tour educational sites in different cities of Turkey and introduce STEM education geared towards aviation to high school students. Through this project, students aged between 13-16 are learning the essentials about flying and the fundamental science and mathematics involved in flight and improving their 21st century skills. 

We also support initiatives to enhance entrepreneurial and employability skills of the university youth in our country. In 2017, we collaborated with Turkish Entrepreneurship Foundation to start the “Airpreneurs” program, which aims to inspire university students on aerospace entrepreneurship. Since the start of the program, Airpreneurs has reached 350,000 people all around Turkey and made the dreams of more than 700 youth in seven cities come true. We recently launched the fourth edition of the Airpreneurs program. This year’s program focuses on innovative solutions for human health and flight safety as well as new needs in the post-pandemic aviation sector.

Some past examples of our programs include the establishment of a composite laboratory at Ege University in Izmir and the construction of an aircraft maintenance mechanical workshop at a vocational high school in Izmir. In collaboration with Anadolu University, we also supported vocational training for teachers and students at the aircraft maintenance vocational high schools across the country.

In additon to all these, we supported Turkey’s cultural heritage through sponsoring archaeological sites. After supporting the archaeological digs at Gordion for several years, we became one of the main sponsors of the Çatalhöyük excavations in Konya --an important 9,000-year-old Neolithic site for almost 20 years starting from 1998. This site was then recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO. We supported the archaeological excavation in Kalehöyük, which is located in Kaman district of Kırşehir, and Kaman Kalehöyük Archeology Museum. We also supported the Bathonea excavations around the Istanbul area in 2014.

Aviation Turkey: Can you elaborate on your collaboration with TURKISH TECHNIC and local airline operators in MRO & Overhaul and Repairs services?

Ayşem Sargın: Turkish Technic successfully provides technical and maintenance services for Boeing planes. With the signing of the Global Fleet Care Agreement in May 2018, we positioned Turkish Technic as a strategic regional supplier for Boeing for line maintenance and heavy maintenance of airplanes, as well as component services and repair. Besides, our partnership for the training and certification of aircraft technicians from all corners of the world continues. Turkish Technic is an MRO center center with significant advantages including its capabilities, the wide reach of Turkish Airlines flights, and logistic optimization.

Finally, we announced last year in June with Turkish Technic a renewed tailored parts package agreement, extending their contract by three years. It enables Turkish Technic to reinforce its efficiency, reliability and access to a global network of parts and component services. With this agreement, Turkish Technic has continued to streamline maintenance operations with price and availability benefits from the renewal agreement. It also expanded its previous agreement with 9,000 part numbers, including a range of Boeing and supplier parts sourced through both Boeing and partner entities.

 Aviation Turkey: How would you summarize the Boeing Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) 2021-2040? Can you share some CMO forecast highlights with our readers?  

Ayşem Sargın: Aws I already mentioned, the global market is recovering largely as we projected in our 2021 forecast. We see increase in long-haul flight traffic and expect it to return pre-pandemic levels by 2023 to 2024.

When it comes to the long-term projectory, the total number of aircraft will reach 43,610 by 2040. There will be need for 8,700 new aircraft just in Europe between 2021-2040, which amounts to 20 percent of the global demand. Freighter fleet will grow by 70 percent by 2040 and 2,610 new aircraft will be delivered. European airlines will need 1.6 trillion euro in services and more than 400,000 in new personnel including 115,000 pilots and 178,000 cabin crew memners over the next 20 years.

By 2050, we project over 10 billion passengers will use air travel annually– supporting 180 million jobs and generating nearly $9 trillion in economic activity 

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