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Issue 71 Interview
The 1st International Eurasia Airshow will have all Eyes on Turkey in 2018

Further reinforcing the prowess of the Turkish Aerospace and Defense Industries, the event will gather global industry giants in Antalya, while boosting tourism. In an exclusive Defence Turkey Magazine interview, CEO of the International Eurasia Airshow, Mr. Ferhat Yenibertiz discusses B2B and G2G negotiations a that are well underway, and the momentum that is quickly drawing global attention. 

Defence Turkey: Dear Mr. Ferhat Yenibertiz first of all, we would like to wish you success in your new assignment. You have been assigned as the CEO of the International Eurasia Airshow, which will gather the Commercial and Military Aerospace representatives on 25th-28th April 2018 in Antalya. Could you please briefly tell us the story of the establishment of Eurasia and accomplishment of the Airshow?
The idea of Eurasia to take place in Turkey emerged 10-11 months ago and then we made the decision to initiate our journey with this path. So, how did this subject come to our agenda? As you know, the aerospace sector in Turkey is thriving and quite rapidly. Examining the data of the years 2003 – 2015, we come across 5.7% growth in the whole world, during that period the growth of the aerospace sector in Turkey was 13.7%. Within the last decade, Turkey achieved an aggressive growth especially in the aerospace area.
Taking this rapid and aggressive growth in Turkey into consideration, we should leave aside experiencing these important developments we have been going through merely within the intrastate of our country and we need to crack our shells through both production and such shows. Taking all the events within the world into account, Airshows in particular are generally the most prestigious events worldwide, because at such events, you are synchronizing with a highly elite network. If you really conduct your business with quality and pursue a structure that closely follows the trends and developments in the world, then you will be able to worthily present the name and flag of your country to the world. You will be able to enhance and bring awareness towards your country. This may either be the production of a piece, production of a component or a configuration built in relation with an end-product or it may be the demonstration of work related to aviation. The added value created by all the aforementioned processes will inevitably be quite high.
Personally, to see the big picture, I strive make in-depth observations capturing details. I have been asking myself why we lacked such an organization in our country during the powerful events I have been attending over the last ten years. We considered how could we conduct such events and organizations and bring them to our country? We have more pluses than minuses compared to many countries in executing such organizations. Such as with Medyacity’s HighTech Port and the Global Satshow, Medyacity will put on the Eurasia show and it will be an event with high added value for country on the international stage.
Through a visionary approach, we are planning a newsworthy Airshow with all the attractions that it contains. This organization will have a significant budget and a great amount of resources have been allocated towards this endeavor. The agencies that we collaborate with will be on a global scale, we are currently flirting with agencies that have proven themselves in global environments with major awards. We are building an identity with all aspects such as social media, web page, etc.
Defence Turkey: On which scale will this event be compared to, in respect to the other organizations in the world?
Currently over 100 air shows are being organized around the globe and the Farnborough Airshow, Paris Airshow, Singapore Airshow, Berlin Airshow, Dubai Airshow are the ones of relatively bigger scale. Nearly half of them are held in the USA. These organizations, with top efficiency levels thanks to the conferences and workshops they comprise, are regarded as venues for commercial sales as well. After the 3rd-4th edition, we are aiming to move ahead of the Dubai Airshow.
Defence Turkey: So, from which institutions and organizations will you be getting institutional support? What kind of a structure is planned?
We negotiated with the GIFAS – the company organizing the Farnborough Airshow and Paris Airshow. GIFAS has been conducting this business for a hundred years now and during our negotiations, the importance of the governmental support has been frequently mentioned and this issue stood out all along the negotiations. When organizing an event of this scale, the conductor of the patronage bears critical importance. In Dubai, Maktum Group is in charge of the patronage. Similarly, in England and France, there is a top level governmental support. Within such context, this project has been submitted to our Dear President and will be accomplished directly under the auspices of our President. On the other hand, we negotiated with our Chief of General Staff and the details have been conveyed to him. We shared all the breakdowns and objectives with him. The Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication, Ministry of Defense, Turkish Airlines (will be the Supporting Leader) and TRJet will be the part of this activity. There is a commercial and a military aspect of this business. To this end, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, General Directorate of State Airports Authority and General Directorate of Civil Aviation will exist within this structure as well. Taking a look at the best practices in the world, we see that the actors and partners of this business are obvious. We will be implementing the manner of action in Turkey.
Defence Turkey: What type of a balance will there be as far as the distribution of the participants from Turkey and abroad? From which countries are you collecting demands regarding sales?
We are planning 60% overseas and 40% domestic sales at the Eurasia Airshow. We are progressing in line with this goal. There are Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) known as approved main manufacturers in the world and there is a great network producing parts for these companies. We are currently forming a contact list based on our past experiences and our personal experiences, that we have gathered up to this point. We will be conducting a meticulous field study for all events and conferences until the realization of the Airshow event in April 2018. We received various booking requests from countries such as Germany and Israel when we launched this organization in July at the Farnborough 2016 Airshow. They are persistently calling us to secure direct reservations.
Defence Turkey: You have not yet officially started the Chalet and Stand sales, have you?
No, the sales of the stands and chalets did not start officially, yet presently we are receiving a serious amount of unofficial demands. Everybody has a commercial plan related to this potential geography. Within this context, some come here to promote sales and some for purchasing of the Management of this process in the best way, bearing our country’s interests in mind, and we are preparing the infrastructure and the scenarios which will gain added value to our country and increase our PR capacity.
Defence Turkey: Dear Mr. Yenibertiz, what is the particular reason behind the selection of the Antalya region?
In my opinion, the selection of Antalya was one of the most appropriate decisions made throughout this period and scenario. We conducted detailed studies with the Farnborough team on the execution of this organization in Antalya. Due to the intense air traffic in the Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen Airports and as the third airport is still under construction, realizing a great Airshow in Istanbul does not seem possible. For the accomplishment of a great Airshow featuring flight demonstrations, surely sufficient air traffic is essential. Allocation of slots for the aircrafts and the grounding of them are not considered as major issues at Airshows, but if you fail to concentrate on the part filled with flight demonstrations creating enthusiasm in the community, then that Airshow would not be entirely accomplished. In that case that Airshow becomes a static event on the ground. Serious market research has been conducted to this end. We made an in-depth study and surveyed the responses of the following questions: Who conducts events in the nearby geography? Who has been conducting such events and since when? What are the content of the events? Instead of an ordinary organization, we aim to realize an Airshow which will create tremendous impact in our region and in the world. As you know, previously G-20 Summit was held in Antalya and all major governments of the world attended the organization. The smooth completion of this organization without any problems or malfunctions created an important reputation for Antalya.
There is a checklist that consist of 13 clauses for major international events. We have taken Antalya into evaluation based on this checklist through which we checked whether we could be conducting the fair in this geographic location or not. The CEO and CFO of Farnborough arrived in Turkey and made a sightseeing excursion in Antalya. We worked on approximately 6-7 options including the identification of the date of the Fair. Bearing in mind, that Antalya is a touristic city and the increase in the air traffic with the high season, the feasibility study for the most convenient dates was conducted. This was important as you block the air space of that city during certain hours of the day for commercial – military and acrobatic flights of the aircrafts. On the other hand, the checklist composed of the clauses considering the nightlife of the city, shopping facilities, capacity of accommodation, traffic, weather conditions and transportation and last, but not least, the length of the runway for the flights was applied to Antalya and the city got the thumbs up.
After the 15th of July, a suggestion was made for the evaluation of Ankara. Under regular circumstances, Ankara is not in line with our targets but with the purpose of making a rational comparison we applied the checklist of 13 clauses this time to Ankara. But, unfortunately Ankara could not pass the evaluation. One of the main components drawing the interest of the participants of the Fair is the attraction of the city and this affects the choices of the participants in the band of 50% to 60%; because exhibitors tend to perceive the fair and entertainment as a complete package and would like to be fully satisfied. Therefore, Antalya offers crucial opportunities in respect to tourism as well as the quality and convenience of accommodations. Within the framework of our Fair, we are planning entertainment activities which will most definitely stay in the memory of the participants for many years.
A serious golf tournament is amongst such activities. Moreover, we are planning drone races as well. Additionally, we are planning activities involving concerts from vocalists and performers known worldwide. That is to say, we are not only concentrating on the business aspect of this event but we are taking the entertainment and cultural aspects into account as well. With such entertainment activities, we believe our event will be newsworthy.
Defence Turkey: What will be the size of the Fair area, including the chalets, static areas and stand halls, indoors and outdoors in total?
We are aiming for an indoor area for sales that is 20,000 m2 . Around 50 to 55 chalets are planned in addition to this sales area of 20,000 m2. Surely there will be static display areas in which the aircrafts could park according to their tonnage. We will have all the components as those of the gigantic fairs that we observed up until today. Presently, what we are concentrating on is, which elements could we build upon; what could we add to enrich the event, what was lacking at the other events, how could we satisfy the participants both in the business aspect and in the sense of the opportunities offered by the city; we are working on that. We aim to realize an event which will stick in the mind of the participants, an event in which the participants make their bookings for the following fair when leaving the first one and we are progressing towards this target with firm steps.
As seen at all the notable Airshows in the world, the flight demonstrations are key and will be an integral part of this show as well. Besides, we are planning conferences in which the people regarded as brands in their competency areas will be involved. An “Airlines CEO Summit” will be organized as well, where all the CEOs of the major airlines in the world will be attending.
Defence Turkey: Mr. Yenibertiz, the subcontractors and main contractors will be gathering at this fair as well. On the other hand, another point in the minds of the participants is the attendance of the official delegations. How do you plan to gather all these components?
At this point, I would like to note that we had mutual negotiations and meetings with the Farnborough team for around 6 months. B2B or G2G negotiations conducted mutually with the participation of delegations and committees are the most important indicators of the efficiency of a fair. People tend to emphasize these indicators after the end of the events.
There is a 1.5 – 2 year long preparatory stage until the beginning of the fair. We plan to prepare an agenda through communicating with the participants (exhibitors, visitors or delegations) during that period. After such activities, the actual added value obtained is through the conducted negotiations with high quality levels, sustainable connections and business contacts. Looking from a commercial perspective, Turkey is located at a very critical strategic point and geography. We are fully aware of the foreign countries’ appetite for building cooperation and collaboration with Turkey. We aim to identify all these parameters and convert this organization into a productive business program. And for achieving this, you need to collaborate with a very qualified team. Because you form a serious network and you should have the best sales team. We will initiate our journey with a team who understands and perceives the aim and vision of the organization.
I have always been on the purchasing party. Therefore, I really know the expectations and requirements of the procurement authority. You need to find a good response to the question “Why should I participate in this event?” Selling the stand halls is not sufficient alone. You can hold the first event of an organization. But if you achieve bringing the companies to the second and third events of that organization with the impact you left on their mind, to me that should be regarded as the true success of a fair. We will absolutely head towards that end at this fair.
Defence Turkey: In July, you signed a collaboration agreement with Farnborough during Farnborough 2016? How is it proceeding?
We collaborated with Farnborough for 6 months and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. We shared technical know-how as well. Actually, Farnborough offered us all the services it could offer during that period. We made a series of meetings in England. The CEO and CFO of Farnborough conducted numerous contacts in Ankara and subsequently made certain negotiations in Antalya. We stayed in Antalya for two days and there we executed a detailed and comprehensive study with the technical staff enabled by the General Directorate of State Airports Authority. The program schedule, all the aimed indoor and outdoor square meters have been matured with the cooperation made with the Farnborough team. Within this context, we think we obtained all the support we could derive from Farnborough. But, unfortunately after the July 15th period that our country went through, we entered a period of recession in respect to mutual relations and approaches. We rapidly captured the emerging picture and displayed a convenient approach. We did not let our collaborators feel that they had to physically exist at the event. These types of organizations have been held for 100 years, we are not conducting a brand new organization. Therefore, we feel relaxed in that sense. We did not actually end our relations with Farnborough, but we decided not to announce their title in the organization. Subsequently, we started negotiating with GIFAS – the company which organized the Paris Airshow and we built a model which made us feel confident.
We will accomplish the “flight management” which is considered as the most critical part of the Airshows with a module we will be purchasing from GIFAS and we will make use of their experience in our country. Actually, GIFAS will be executing this abroad for the first time with us. GIFAS is realizing this organization only at the Paris Air Show and the company will be opening abroad for the first time with our organization.
Defence Turkey: Did you sign an official contract within this context?
We negotiated with the President and reached an agreement in principle; we will be making official in the upcoming weeks and will be purchasing the part we require.
Defence Turkey: Which part of this technical package will be local and which part of it will be under the responsibility of GIFAS?
The technical team of GIFAS will be here. Moreover, the Turkish staff having in-depth knowledge in the legislation and technical aspects, will be collaborating with them. I mean, this process will not advance over the e-mails. GIFAS will be managing the technical process throughout the fair. But we will be getting our own team involved in this process so that they could both gain experience and will be able to dominate the process in the long run. Flight management is one of the most critical tasks for maintaining security and it needs to be executed well.
Defence Turkey: Mr. Yenibertiz, what kind of responsibilities will the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and State Airports Authority (DHMİ) have within the scope of the event? What are your additional comments on the support to be provided by other ministries?
We can say that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and DHMİ will be our greatest supporters here as they exist in a very critical point within the eco-system that I mentioned previously. On the other hand, Antalya is a very qualified city in respect to tourism, it is very attractive. We aim to build a case in which we will host the elites arriving at the event for a week after the completion of the Airshow. We will have a joint activity with the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture. Throughout all these promotional processes, we will be demanding data from these actors in the global agencies with which we will collaborate.
Defence Turkey: What would you like to say about the development of the Turkish Aerospace sector and the future vision of Eurasia?
We are observing that Turkey has made great progress in the aerospace sector. First of all, within the population of 80 million, the young population constitutes the majority. We are also aware of the contribution of the developments in the leading sectors such as tourism, trade and industry to the aerospace sector. Without a doubt, we have a location advantage in respect to the aviation activities. Istanbul’s being a HUB is especially quite important within this context. During the 11th Transportation Council; within the framework of Turkey’s ambitious vision for 2023, it was declared that traffic of 450 million passengers is to be reached by 2023 in Turkey. On the other hand, certain activities for increasing attraction toward air transport are being conducted. Considering the developments from the past until today, we observe that the number of air transport passengers is increasing both in the world and in Turkey. We have global actors such as THY which supports our country’s prestige and its objectives. As Eurasia, we aim to become one of these active actors as well.
Of course, evaluating everything from a single perspective would not be a correct approach. We are aware of the global recession dominating tourism and other areas. We observe a decline in the number of travelers, as well. The rise in the terrorist attacks occurring all around the world on a global scale surely affects all nations in a negative way. It is essential to have the capability to manage these crisis moments and these realities in the most prudent manner. The stability of the oil prices, 3rd Airport and the sector’s not having reached its saturation point, are factors which may bring important advantages to Turkey. On the other hand, cargo transportation, which is another important potential, will be amongst the critical components enabling Turkey’s healthy growth.
According to market research, which we conducted during my Board Membership of HEAŞ at the Sabiha Gökçen Airport, we observed that Turkey’s potential and number of potential passengers would be increasing incrementally within the framework of the master plans on a yearly basis. Besides, there is the annual market research published by the major actors in the world such as Boeing and Airbus. This research put forth 20-year long projections, important references, figures and parameters. According to the data provided by Airbus, the number of the active fleets in the world is most recently around 19,500-20,000. Nearly 18,000 of these aircrafts are composed of commercial aircraft and 1,500 of them are aircrafts for cargo transportation. This figure is expected to reach an aircraft quantity of 40,000 in year 2035. Comparing the research of Boeing and Airbus, you come across the fact that the figures are 95% similar. The delivery of approximately 33,000 aircrafts is forecasted in the next twenty years. Without a doubt, some of these aircrafts will turn into scrap but 33,000 aircrafts will be running in the track in the next 20 years. Here, I would like to emphasize that the Europe, Africa and the Middle East region globally constitute the 40% of the total world fleet. We are speaking of enormous eco-system here. The aviation sector is not only composed of just the aircrafts that you see. It contains numerous significant components such as aircraft maintenance, parts production, training, logistics, etc. We see that all the countries creating added value in the world, from the past until today, are taking important shares from the aviation sector. It is quite apparent that your country is as developed as your aviation sector.
Currently, Istanbul is amongst the 47 mega cities in aviation. After 20 years, in 2035, the number of these mega cities is expected to reach to 91. Turkey will be reaching a more aggressive point with the 3rd Airport. Our target, as Eurasia is to reach a 35,000m2 indoor area at our 3rd Fair by 2022 (first fair in 2018, second fair in 2020 and third fair in 2022). We are aiming to have a fair including at least 800 participants from a minimum 50 countries, with participation in the fair from a very wide spectrum and from various branches such as civil aviation, military aviation, space technologies, equipment - material maintenance services, MRO (such as Turkish Technic) infrastructure manufacturers, R&D companies, governmental institutions and authorities, organizations, education, etc.
We especially attach great importance to the Content Management component. We are aware of the support provided by our Dear President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Transport, Directorate General of Civil Aviation and State Airports Authority and their support add great enthusiasm to our efforts. On the other hand, our Undersecretary for Defense Industries Prof. İsmail Demir, Mr. İlker Aycı - THY Chairman of the Board and MÜSİAD President Mr. Nail Olpak also own this process as well. Certainly they will be adding great value with their visionary perspectives. I am fully aware of the support provided by our Undersecretary for Defense Industries Dear Prof. İsmail Demir to such values, which will contribute to our country’s reputation and dignity. Similarly, feeling the strong and close support of Turkish Airlines is also making us very happy.
This organization is very huge, and is not just the project of a single institution or an association, and as I mentioned earlier, since in all other countries that conduct this type of business well, with the strategic support of the relevant governmental institutions and associations, it will bear importance in our country too. In the aftermath of the 15th July, we are looking forward to showing our flag through an international project through an elite organization and display the added value created here to the whole world.
Defence Turkey: As Eurasia, how are the team building and PR activities towards the domestic and international sales proceeding?
Eurasia Air Show will be accomplished with a powerful structure with the assistance of Medyacity, with their exhibition experience at home and abroad and the technical support provided by the GIFAS. As Medyacity, currently we have an office in Istanbul. We have an additional office in Ankara and there are five personnel at this office. We are planning to enhance this number to 10 in the upcoming months. We are building a team to add value to this business; a team with vision and a team which will directly infuse its enthusiasm into the process. We have reached an understanding with two experienced people from abroad (Marie Sarger de Bourgeaud and Vittoria Prudente from the Eurosatory team) and our two colleagues will be in charge of the domestic sales. We will initiate the process in November and launch our field work as soon as possible. In order to support the sales activities in the field and our sales team, we are preparing to start marketing and PR campaigns accompanied by global agencies.
Defence Turkey: So, what kind of a plan do you consider regarding the media part of this fair?
You will be the part of this process as the global media. On the worldwide scale, on the international platform there are prominent structures especially in respect of aviation, such as Flight Global and Aviation Week which have a serious amount of readers. Moreover, there are sectoral publications such as African Aerospace, Arabian Aerospace in certain geographies with a strong mass of followers. With the inclusion of all these structures to the process, we will have a serious media planning. We will plan this with our global media agency. We categorized the period of next 15-16 months, that critical period, within itself. As you may know, the first 6 month period and the last 6 month period have different values of importance. Within this scope, our international PR agency will be managing all the decisions on where we will work, which areas we will focus on behalf of our company.
February 26 2017
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