Turkish Airlines has announced it will cooperate with Plug and Play, a platform that connects startups to corporations.
Turkey’s flag carrier said in a statement: “As being an anchor member of Plug and Play’s Travel and Hospitality Acceleration Program, Turkish Airlines will help select the most promising startups working on the next generation of travel and hospitality products and services.”
Ali Serdar Yakut, Turkish Airlines’chief corporate development and IT officer, said: “As a response to increasing complexity and number of emerging technologies, every sector needs to adapt.
“We have recently established Digital Innovation unit to execute new ideas that create business value with the use of new technologies. This unit focuses on very high impact, strategic opportunities that need proving before an investment decision can be made.”
He continued: “We investigate, evaluate, experiment and build disruptive technologies in customer experience. Open innovation and collaboration is the main tool for us to succeed; we build, develop and manage relationships with the players in the ecosystem.
“This partnership with Plug and Play is one of our strategic attempts to act, think, and build with startups.”
Amir Amidi, managing partner at Plug and Play’s Travel Program, said: “We are very pleased to have Turkish Airlines join our travel platform. I’ve had the pleasure of flying with them on several occasions and it has always been a pleasant experience.
“In 2016, we will work closely with the Turkish Airlines Innovation Team to collaborate with leading startups in the IoT, artificial intelligence/machine learning, robotics, and augmented/virtual reality technologies as they relate Turkish Airlines’ technology roadmap,” Amidi said.
Plug and Play is nurturing innovation in a wide range of industries, while Turkish Airlines has a deeper focus on innovations in travel sector.
The Travel and Hospitality Program aims to discover, support and scale technologies that are defining the future of travel and hospitality. In parallel with Turkish Airlines’ goals for open innovation, Plug and Play will accept 20 to 30 startups in each of its two Travel and Hospitality classes of 2016.
Startups accepted into the three-month program will receive mentor opportunities with leaders in the travel and hospitality space across all verticals, including hotels, airlines, online travel agencies, cruise lines and global distribution systems.
The Travel and Hospitality Accelerator is a three-month program designed for early and growth stage startups. Qualified companies are developing solutions in various stages of travel, including choosing, planning a trip, booking, en route and post-trip activities. Participating startups receive mentoring opportunities, as well as exposure to investors and potential pilot opportunities with corporate partners.
Established in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines is a four-star airline today with a fleet of 305 (passenger and cargo) aircraft flying to 285 destinations worldwide with 236 international and 49 domestic.
According to Skytrax survey of 2015, Turkish Airlines was chosen “Europe’s Best Airline” for the fifth and “Best Airline in Southern Europe” for the seventh consecutive times. Having won in 2010 the world’s “Best Economy Catering Service”, in 2013 the world’s “Best Business Catering Service”, and in 2014 “Best Business Catering Service” awards, Turkish Airlines was awarded the world’s “Best Business Class Lounge Dining” and “Best Business Airline Lounge” prizes in 2015 Skytrax survey.