Turkiye gets first female airline boss as Güliz Öztürk appointed CEO of Pegasus Airlines

Güliz Öztürk will be breaking new ground next month when she takes over as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pegasus Airlines from Mehmet T. Nane. The news was announced by Pegasus Airlines on Friday.

Ms Öztürk is currently Pegasus’ Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Her appointment marks the first time in Turkish civil aviation history that a woman takes the helm of an airline.

The change at the top follows Mr Nane’s move onto the board of Pegasus Airlines. The incumbent, who has been serving as the airline’s CEO since 2016, was elected Vice-Chairperson by the airline’s board of directors on 31 March 2022. Both Mr Nane and Ms Öztürk will take up their new roles on 1 May 2022.

Remarking on her appointment, Ms Öztürk said, “I am honoured to receive the baton from Mehmet T. Nane. As Pegasus Airlines, we have accomplished many firsts and pioneering projects under his leadership since 2016, and we have made our country proud many times in the international arena.”

She said the airline would continue to invest in two significant areas, technology and people, which she described as “the architect of our success”:

“As Turkey’s digital airline, we will continue to offer digital technologies and unique innovations that will enhance the travel experience, with our approach that focuses on guest experience. Without compromising the basic principles of our business model, we will continue to manage our operations and activities with a sustainable environment approach.”

Ms Öztürk also made a pledge to progress gender equality at the airline: “We will make every effort, institutionally and individually, to contribute to the equal participation of women and men in all areas of social life and to enable women to express their full potential.

“As a company, we have been committed to gender equality for many years, and we have been at the centre of the struggle. This change is also proof of the importance our company attaches to gender equality.”

The outgoing CEO praised his successor, stating Ms Öztürk had “made significant contributions to the growth and development of Pegasus for many years” and that he “wholeheartedly” believes she will “continue to wave the flag of Pegasus brightly in the skies.”

Mehmet T. Nane, CEO of Pegasus Airlines, with his successor Güliz Öztürk, the CCO


“This appointment holds great value and significance also as Güliz Öztürk is to become the first woman CEO of an airline in the history of Turkish civil aviation,”  he added.

Mr Nane, who is President of Turkish Private Aviation Enterprises Association (TÖSHİD) and becomes IATA Chair of the Board in June, noted that the aviation sector “has gone through a very challenging period both domestically and globally due to the [coronavirus] pandemic.”

Describing Turkish civil aviation as “a rising star in the world”, Mr Nane said he would continue to “work tirelessly” to “support the growth of our company”.

About Güliz Öztürk

Güliz Öztürk began her career at Turkish Airlines. From 1990 to 2003, she served in multiple roles including as Manager of International Relations and Contracts, and Alliance Coordinator, rising to Sales and Marketing Director.

During her time at Turkish Airlines, she managed key strategic projects, such as launching the first code-share flights, and the airline’s loyalty and bank card programmes, and first website. She also  implemented online ticket sales for the first time.

Between 2003 and 2005, Ms Öztürk served as Aviation and Tourism Project Coordinator and Director of Human Resources at Ciner Holding.

She joined Pegasus Airlines in 2005 as Head of Sales and Marketing, to manage the launch of the airline’s scheduled services. In 2010, she was appointed Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), with responsibility for the commercial department, which includes Sales, Network Planning, Marketing, Revenue Management and Pricing, Cargo and Guest Experience.

A member of the Board of Advisors of Özyeğin University’s Faculty of Aviation and Aeronautical Sciences, Güliz Öztürk is also co-chair of the Women in Sales (WiSN) social project. This was established in 2019 to further gender balance in company sales departments, under the umbrella of the Sales Network platform.

Güliz Öztürk is a graduate of Kadıköy Anadolu High School and the Department of Psychology at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, and has completed an Advanced Management programme at Columbia Business School.