Pegasus Airlines – delighting a new type of travelling customer.

Until 1982 Turkish Airlines was the only airline company operating in Turkey and as such it had no domestic competitors. Following Government deregulation and opening up of the market 29 airlines were established with 22 of them (76%) declaring for bankruptcy within two years showing the pressure of both internal and external competition and the national economic instability.

After a number of buy-outs and collaborative ventures Pegasus now operates as a low-cost airline and has moved away from the charter business. The company has a large fleet of aircraft and chooses to avoid flying from the congested and very busy Istanbul Airport and works out of Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. Its on-time departure rate is 93% which is well above the European average of 81% which shows just how important customer service is to the organisation.

Customer Focus.

There is a continual focus on customer satisfaction which drives all aspects of the business; supply and demand are continually being examined to set ticket prices. Customers who book 60 days in advance receive a bonus or discount while those who book later pay the same price as the fares quoted by their rival airlines. Pegasus has taken time to develop a Loyalty Card which offers customers a range of benefits including insurance rate reductions. To further look after customers Pegasus have been brave in offering a compensation package which includes;

  1. Ticket refund if the flight is more than 3 hours late
  2. Ticket refund and a free ticket if the flight is more than 5 hours late

There are also exclusive car parking arrangements with a valeting option, VIP and Business Class lounges and generous links with hotel chains for their customers to use. For a small extra charge passengers can also choose their seats in the one-class cabin that Pegasus operates. There are also a range of food and beverage options available which can be discounted if ordered in advance.

Pegasus won the 2006 “Best Airline Business Price” Award.

More than just amenities.

Pegasus invests large sums in the training of its staff so that there is a total commitment to customer satisfaction starting with the customer’s interaction with the website. The company is recognised as one of Turkey’s top brands chosen from a list of 137 competing organisations. Of the 137 only 26 (19%) gained recognition with the title of “Superbrand Turkey”. Training and continual professional development for staff are a key factor on making sure that they operate a person-centred model for customer service. Pegasus takes time to recruit the right people who exhibit those features and then works hard to fully develop them into the business.

Love your customers.

Since the global recession many airlines have seen a reduction in passenger numbers and for many it is a real challenge to sustain profitability. To keep their customers Pegasus have developed innovative means of keeping their attention; the Pegasus Facebook page includes a game whereby customers can win tickets and benefits coupled with a Vodafone collaboration to promote both brands. This leverage through social media even when customers are NOT buying tickets or taking part in the business is an innovative way to generate on-going loyalty. The company also operates a website directly for feedback on perceptions and experiences; “Pegasus Listens To You” asks for suggestions on how to improve service levels, to debate issues around the way the company is run and its management operations, reporting problems and ideas for improvement.

Customer and market success for Pegasus.

Pegasus represents success in a number of ways;

  1. It ensures successful service through safety, training and devoted employees
  2. It uses creative communication with its customers
  3. It offers a good range of popular destinations including easy access to international hubs
  4. It uses efficient management techniques to deliver low prices with a high-quality experience

To be successful in the low-cost environment airlines MUST pay great attention to the changing patterns of customer needs and travel preferences.

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