October 19, 2021

Professor Ozaman's Airline Management course, and why you should take it

Professor Ozaman teaches the Airline Management course in the MS in Travel and Tourism Management at the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. He tells us more about this elective course in this post.

What is your background?

I am a native of Istanbul, Turkey, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But since 1990, I have been living in New York, one of the most interesting cities in the world. After completing my undergraduate studies in marketing at Marmara University, I earned my MBA at CUNY Baruch College.

I worked as a Marketing Executive and even co-founded a start-up before beginning work as Travel Manager at a Turkish Fortune 500 company. My career in tourism and hospitality continued as a Tour Operator when I was offered a VP position where I managed the U.S. operations of a French company. My tenure there led to the beginning of my aviation career at Turkish Airlines where I have been the Regional Marketing Manager since 2009.

At the Tisch Center, you teach the Airline Management course. What are the objectives of the course?

Having worked at Turkish Airlines for many years now, I see the airline industry as not being a transportation business per se, but as an integral part of the hospitality sector. With that in mind, this course aims to give students a holistic understanding of the inner workings of an airline from both a marketing and management perspective. The main goal is to provide students with the necessary tools to efficiently integrate the airline component into their overall understanding of hospitality and tourism.

Another major objective of this class is to create an alternative career path. The airline industry is poised for a strong recovery after the pandemic; many people either left the industry or retired due to the extraordinary conditions they faced and that leaves an unprecedented need for new talent in the industry. Mastering the fundamentals of this very dynamic business will help students gain a significant competitive advantage when they apply for a position at an airline.

Why is this an important and interesting subject area in our fields?

A lot of the hospitality programs in academia seem to almost ignore the airline industry. However, if one analyzes the workings of hospitality business in depth, it will become very clear that air component is an essential part of business planning for many enterprises in the industry. From hotels to rental cars, restaurants to transportation companies, all aspects of the hospitality sector are directly and/or indirectly affected by the performance of airlines in their region. This is especially true regarding international tourism in the U.S., where the means of transportation are limited almost exclusively to air travel; the degree to which a destination is served by airlines makes a crucial difference in competitiveness. Thus, it’s strategically important for any hospitality executive to have at least a rudimentary understanding of how this critical component works.

What impact do you hope to have on your students through this course?

The course involves a lot of real-life scenarios along with micro and macro level economic theories as they relate to airline industry. Although many students are familiar with these theories, I have noticed that the majority of them experience some level of difficulty in applying their theoretical knowledge to real, industry-specific cases. This course tries to mitigate that problem by examining actual examples of applying theory to practical situations. As a professional, I can testify to the importance of turning what you know into deliverables and thus, creating added value for your organization. Cultivating this ability makes upward movement in a career path much smoother and achievable.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

The airline business is very dynamic yet challenging; it is very versatile but infinitely exposed to many conjunctural fluctuations at both national and international levels. But it is also a strategic industry for many countries in the world and has an immense impact on global economy and politics. Given its constantly evolving environment, it is fair to say that there is not a single boring day in airline industry. Not only does it keep you on your toes all the time, but it also offers many occasions where you can apply your own knowledge and skills to make a positive impact.

As an airline executive and an aviation enthusiast, I feel blessed to be working in this fascinating industry where some of the brightest minds shine. With its wide array of disciplines from revenue management to marketing, cargo, distribution channels and more, the airline industry touches all aspects of hospitality business and offers ample opportunity for both personal and professional growth.

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