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Q&A: At the leading edge - Nur Gokman

Nur Gokman, CEO of Hitit, discusses her company’s role in the aviation industry through its Crane airline IT solutions
 

Nur Gokman is the co-founder and CEO of Hitit. Prior to founding the company in 1994, she managed the Turkish Airlines (THY) IT Centre, Product Development Department for many years. In 1987, as the head of the software development division of Turkish Airlines Gokman transformed THY into a software exporting company. Gokman is known for her dedication to what she does, ongoing energy, close and caring relationship with employees and customers. She has a BSc Mathematics and Physics degree from Istanbul University.

 

Tell us briefly, how Hitit is connected to the air travel industry?


Hitit is connected to the air travel industry via its IT solutions brand – Crane. Our Crane solutions are focused on the changing trends of the air travel industry by offering modern, fast, cost-efficient and smart solutions.


How has the airline IT industry changed?


It has taken approximately seventy years for the airline IT industry to get to where it is today. It was in the 1950s that IT systems were first used in the airline industry. Since then, we have seen the industry change due to evolving technological developments. Computer reservation systems (CRS) began in the 1960s, and in the 1970s we saw the rise of CRS and the introduction of indirect channels. In the 1980s CRSs evolved into global distribution systems (GDS), and in the 1990s the internet and low cost carriers (LCCs) were ushered in. Nowadays, the airline IT industry is benefitting from amazing and sophisticated technology. The increase in the number of LCCs has intensified competition. This competitive environment has reached a point where the importance of an airlines’ IT and outsourcing rate have increased.   

What sort of organisations use your solutions?


Many of our partners are airlines, but Hitit’s Crane solution suite provides software infrastructure for many travel market players. For example, besides airlines partners, there are ferry and ground-handling companies in our portfolio too, demonstrating how our solution is relevant across the travel industry. However, our focus is the aviation industry.   

What is unique about Hitit’s Crane airline and travel IT platform?


With our comprehensive airline IT solutions, we are providing our partners in the aviation industry with more productive, flexible and feasible business flows which result in faster and higher return on investments. In our industry, especially in the passenger service systems (PSS) area, there are over 20 medium and large IT companies. Hitit was named one of the top PSS providers in Europe this year. Our user-friendly, budget-friendly and management-friendly solutions, as well as our efficient distribution capabilities, flexible hosting services and service-oriented architecture, have differentiated us from our competitors. Our focus is on the IT. We are not a GDS and we support airlines’ operations through flexible integrations.


It should be noted that Hitit is the main company behind Crane Frequent Flyer (Crane FF), one of the first purpose built loyalty solutions for aviation. Under Hitit’s guidance, Crane FF has grown to be the most widely used airline loyalty system across the world, before being successfully auctioned off in 2012. We offer loyalty as part of our PSS now.


Can you elaborate further on what your passenger systems supply agreements entail?


Crane PSS is a turn-key solution suite. It is an all-inclusive, web-based passenger service system that offers a distinctly unique, fully integrated modular platform with reservation, inventory and departure control systems and built-in best-in-class loyalty system capabilities.


Passenger service systems are regulated, mission critical and complex platforms that normally have difficulty embracing changes at the rate the industry currently demands. At Hitit we are passionately dedicated to evolving in line with the industry needs and trends. That’s why we offer the most flexible airline PSS solution suite, Crane PSS, with its ability to transform together with the industry, grow together with partners and help them achieve their strategic objectives, whether it is to maximise customer experience or boost revenues

You recently indicated that 2017 was a remarkable year for the company. Why is that?


2017 was a remarkable year for Hitit because we achieved a successful business performance. We processed more than 50 billion flight queries and 60 million passengers through our systems. Our agency platform was also used by more than 70,000 agencies worldwide in 2017.


Looking more specifically at what we did in 2017, firstly, five new airline partners have migrated to the Crane airline and travel IT platform. Air Tanzania, Royal Wings from Jordan, Arik Air from Nigeria, Chalair from France, and Global GSRM from Germany. Today, airlines from five continents are using Hitit solutions and services.  


One other important part of Hitit’s international growth strategy is the constant development of its solutions and services. In 2017 the company introduced its innovative Crane Business Performance Index (Crane BPI), it is the most comprehensive and compact information provider throughout the entire airline industry, providing accurate and relevant information about an airline's performance. The solution has received numerous accolades at various platforms.

There seems to be a strong focus on the African market. What opportunities do you see there?


Various performance results and forecasts reveal that Africa is one of the fastest growing markets and we expect that Africa will continue its growth trend over the next 20 years. According to these predictions, we have a clear strategic focus on Africa.


Hitit owes its success in Africa to word of mouth; new airlines which later started working with us came to Hitit after numerous good reviews from other airlines in the region. Currently we actively support airlines’ operations in Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Namibia. Since 2015, we now have had eight African airlines as partners, benefiting from our innovative IT solutions. We are looking forward to strengthening our position by bringing new solutions to meet the needs of the growing African region, in 2018 and beyond.

Do you have specific or targeted solutions aimed at low cost and/or regional carriers?


Crane PSS has been designed to fill the gap between traditional airline practices and the latest digital trends and capabilities. This makes it possible for Crane solutions to easily adapt to any airline business model whether it’s legacy, hybrid or LLC.


Specking about LLCs, they enjoy a lightweight, easy-to-deploy and user-friendly PSS that takes care of all their core business processes without any hassle. This gives them the time to focus on refining their product, with customised ancillary offerings, dynamic packaging and unbundling options, all coupled with powerful and direct omni-channel distribution including the highest level of IATA new distribution capability (NDC).


Crane can also support the more complex processes at hybrid and regional carriers. Under the sleek, web-based interfaces of Crane lies a powerful and fully-featured PSS that is capable of all traditional modes of airline operation: Codeshare, interline, GDS distribution, e-ticketing, EMD, (Electronic Miscellaneous Document) complex fares and multi-class nesting and more. Everything a network airline might need is built into the very core of Crane PSS.


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