Turkish Airlines Has Decided To Ditch Skytrax Audit Participation After Consecutive Years Of Awards

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Turkish Airlines has published a surprise announcement the other week, essentially given Skytrax the boot, no longer participating in their airline quality audit system and award ceremonies.

It came as a surprise since Turkish Airlines has centered their marketing around the Skytrax Awards for years but recently they are stacking up unfavorable against the competition.

For a long time Turkish Airlines was known for one thing and that was shoddy service and unreliable operations. Circa 2008 the airline began to make a surprise turnaround with improved product and ground services including the spectacular lounge in Istanbul, Do&Co Catering and new aircraft.

Short after Turkish began to ‘win’ Skytrax awards including titles as ‘Europe’s Best Airline’ which made them very visible over the last 8 years or so. Titles aside, TK is currently rated with an average of four stars.

You can access Turkish Airlines rating on the Skytrax website here.

Last week the airline apparently published a statement (I personally haven’t seen this document or statement on any official TK channel) saying they wouldn’t participate in the Skytrax rating anymore.

Anadolu Agency (access here) published it at least in excerpts.

Turkish Airlines will not participate in the Skytrax World Airline Audit, according to a statement released by the company on Friday.

“Turkish Airlines has decided not to participate in the Skytrax World Airline Audit,” the statement said.

It said Turkish Airlines is flying to more countries and international destinations than any other airline, and it aims to perfect the flight experience it offers to its passengers through new services, particularly those introduced in recent years. …

“From this date on, Turkish Airlines, aiming to excel at total brand experience offered to its passengers at Istanbul New Airport, which will be operational on Oct. 29, 2018, will only take the evaluations based on direct passenger experience into consideration,” the statement said.

The airline was named Best Airline in Europe by Skytrax each year between 2011 and 2016, and it emerged as the Best Airline in Southern Europe for the ninth consecutive time in 2017.

Fair enough to try and provide a good passenger experience but I somewhat fail to see how this is actually marketable apart from word of mouth.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of Skytrax and have criticized their award/rating structure repeatedly over the years but what TK does here is comparing apples with oranges. On the other hand I can see their point because if they feel they are stuck at their four star rating while the immediate competition such as Etihad, Lufthansa or Qatar Airways is rated with five stars then it feels somewhat redundant, especially as a ‘global carrier’ as Turkish likes to call itself.

Skytrax is first and foremost a consulting company and these annual ratings are just a marketing instrument for their services. Therefore it’s not too difficult to assume that each stellar rating might come at a certain price in form of consulting services the airline has to engage in plus licensing fees for the awards etc.

Conclusion

When an company feels there is no longer any value in the award / title they receive it’s just natural to move on and I’m not sure if ‘Europe’s Best Airline’ is a very beneficial message for a carrier that prides itself on a worldwide network.

The company had a good run with these awards that helped them massively to gain visibility and legitimacy in the market again but I’m sure that didn’t come cheap either. I wonder if more airlines will abandon Skytrax in the future which to be completely honest is a brilliant marketing ploy.

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