It was 15 years last month (on October 26, 2006) that Çelebi Ground Handling Hungary Ltd. was founded. Today, Çelebi is the market leader in the ground handling market at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport. Diplomacy&Trade talked to the company's Managing Director, Taner Sari.
What is the scope of services you offer to airlines, passengers and others?
Çelebi took an important step within the framework of its strategy of pursuing international growth by taking over the ground handling services contract for Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport in 2006, thereby forming “Çelebi Ground Handling Hungary Ltd.” Çelebi Hungary has achieved a market leader position in both ground handling and cargo services, ensuring a diversified portfolio of more than 35 customers from various industrial segments such as scheduled, low cost, cargo driven and charter carriers.
In addition to providing full handling services, it has expanded its range of services to provide Ticketing, Lounge and Meet & Assist Service, branded as Çelebi Platinum Services. Furthermore, Çelebi is at the market leader position for General Aviation. The Terminal itself is operated by Çelebi and over 95% of the flights are handled by the Turkish company. With a capacity of
140,000 tons, Çelebi Ground Handling Hungary Ltd. ensures further synergies to its global customer base, with 13,000 m² of the warehouse space in BUD Cargo City.
The past 18 months have been a disaster for the airline industry. How much and in what way has your company been affected by the pandemic situation/restrictions?
As all other aviation players, we have also strongly been impacted by the COVID pandemic. By taking necessary actions and implementing them into our operations, we could slightly decrease its negative effects. We have directly prepared and implement our COVID-19
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in all our subsidiaries. All operational and managerial processes are reviewed and updated. New operational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)/metrics are deployed with direct management involvement.
As a result of the COVID pandemic, some operational services are also included in our service portfolio such as COVID cleaning in aircrafts, COVID testing before flights, etc…
At the beginning of the pandemic, we introduced short working hours on each level starting from top management. Hybrid working model has been initiated in headquarters located in Turkey and also in Hungary. Also, some of our staff have been reallocated from passenger side to cargo.
From the beginning of this period, we have been transparent to both our external and internal customers. We have offered operational flexibility to our customers with their instantly updated plans. The continuation of operations, especially cargo and warehouse handling, is critical and by taking all necessary actions, we have continued to provide our services 7/24.
At the same time, the cargo arm of your business has been thriving. You have your own cargo facility in Vecsés. Please, tell us about that and also, how much it could make up for the losses in the ground handling services?
It is a fact that Cargo & Warehouse business has not been affected much as ground handling from the pandemic. We could have been affected much worse if we had not invested in cargo.
We managed to maintain our operations and our business has stayed stable during this period. Hopefully, with the developments in the industry and by taking related precautions, volumes would increase in 2022.
According to our cargo business developments in Budapest, we are proud to be part of a great project; Alibaba designated Budapest Airport its East-Central European hub in response to growing e-commerce demand in eastern Europe. We are in close cooperation with the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, called Cainiao, and working closely to make this hub thriving.
Çelebi has been very active in the Bud2020 developments. What has been your share?
At the beginning of last year, we have transferred our operations to BUD Cargo City the construction of which was undertaken by Budapest Airport. Moving to our new base led Çelebi Ground Handling to operate all cargo handling and warehouse services under the same roof. This integrated structure brings the convenience of Çelebi’s services to its customers from a single source and gives many advantages in terms of time, reporting, communication and cost.
We are pleased to offer the best quality services to our valuable partners in our new state-of-the-art warehouse. Çelebi Ground Handling Hungary Ltd. ensures further synergies to its global customers, with – as I mentioned – 13,000 m² of warehouse space and 140,000 tons of cargo capacity in BUD Cargo City. The total amount of the investment is planned to be reach EUR 5 million until all implementations will be finalized.
Early this year, Budapest Airport joined a quality assurance system encompassing all phases of pharmaceutical transportation in Hungary and Çelebi is one of the main partners in this. How do you contribute to the success of this initiative?
Budapest was the first station where Çelebi received IATA CEIV Pharma Certificate globally. It was really a tough period, we have successfully completed all the evaluations/audits and awarded with this certificate in March 2021.
Çelebi BUD was also the pioneer in this project, and obtained the certificate separately, before the other members of the community.
Çelebi also serves one of the major carriers of the world, Turkish Airlines. What business opportunities do you see internationally in the coming years?
We are pleased to provide ground handling services to Turkish Airlines in Turkey as well as abroad. It is our pleasure to work with a major carrier as Turkish Airlines globally and supporting each other for our international operations/expansion actions.
With over 10,000 dedicated employees, Çelebi continues to operate on 3 continents, in 5 countries and at 40 stations. Our ambition is to expand our geographic coverage into more developing markets, while providing rewarding employment opportunities to a growing family of colleagues around the world and meeting the service needs of our partners.
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