Harvard Business School publishes a case study about Istanbul-based TAV

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

tav esenboga airportOne of the world’s most prestigious business schools, Harvard Business School, published a case study about the operating model and growth strategy of TAV, one of the world’s largest airport constructors and management companies. The case study presents how TAV became a global brand from its humble beginnings in Istanbul.

The case study is on TAV’s transformation to being an important global brand and emphasizes how it differentiated from its counterparts through its integrated business model.

Professor Juan Alcacer, a faculty member of Harvard Business School, and Esel Cekin, HBS Istanbul Research Center’s executive director, co-authored in writing a case study on how a Turkish company that had started from ground zero with a build-operate-transfer model project and a wide target and vision became one of the globe’s largest airport management companies.

Within the scope of this case study, Sani Sener, the CEO of TAV group, is meeting Harvard Business School’s MBA students in Boston on February 18.

TAV Group CEO, Sani Sener, said, “Since the very beginning, we established a business model that is based on innovation and smart growth. We started a 3-year, 8-month, 20-day project. We had only 10 million passengers in Istanbul in 2000. Today, we are welcoming 102 million passengers in 14 airports in seven countries. TAV’s wide variety of products and services from ground handling, to food and beverages, duty free, security and IT, are provided in 70 airports and 16 countries. We are in the number one rank in airport construction. We became the world’s preferred brand name in airport management through our business model that sets an example of the best practice in horizontal and vertical integration, our financial competency, and operational capabilities. We achieved this success not through our physical assets, but through intellectual and social assets that are our 54,000 employees from 39 different countries. We are proud that TAV’s flexible business model which endures the market shocks and its global brand name born out of Turkey are now being discussed by the leaders of the future at Harvard.”

Harvard Business School professor Juan Alcacer said, “At Harvard Business School we are committed to provide teaching materials that help our students to become leaders that make a change in the world. To achieve this goal, we are looking constantly for firms and organizations around the world that provide interesting and important lessons in management. When I visited Turkey a couple of years ago I had the chance to learn about TAV, its managers and its strategic challenges. I thought that it provided a great setting where students could explore good managerial practices, so we wrote the case.”

While writing the TAV’s case study, HBS professor and researchers had one-to-one and group interviews with the company’s senior executives and researched for a period of two months.

The case study makes comparisons of different airport operating models states that TAV which started with a build-operate-transfer model in Istanbul distinguishes itself from other models through its integrated business model. A model that enabled TAV to enlarge its operations to 70 airports in 16 countries and focus on non-aviation revenues with operations at different areas of an airport.

It underlined how TAV turned its face towards an operational leadership in the region and a financial leadership in the globe, while strengthening its presence in Turkey. It also added that TAV targeted to be a global brand through its focus on growth in developing markets in the region, successful financial and strategic partnerships, and public offerings.


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