TAV Airports Deputy CEO, interview.
1. Could you please talk about yourself, who is Franck Mereyde?
I am living in Istanbul with my wife and my three daughters. All my family likes a lot Turkey with its people, its dynamism, culture, its incredible heritage, its culinary wealth and its wonderful areas all around the country.
As a professional, I really like working with very different people and stakeholders as one team. Airports are the best place for me to find this diversity and this unity, to reinforce the willing to work all together in the same direction. I work with passion and I consider that a manager has to share its passion and help his team to understand the purpose of our work. The world is changing very fast, it is not a threat for us but an opportunity: it is one of the duty of a manager to prepare and keep his team agile.
I am a civil and aeronautic engineer. I have started my career in digital models for satellites in Montreal in 1996. It was a mix between physics and data science. I have worked then in finance to model airlines cost before managing an R&D team focused on numerical modeling and IT. I have occupied strategic and management functions, always in aviation, and I spent, before joining TAV, 11 years in ADP as deputy CEO of CDG and then CEO of Paris-Orly Airport.
2. What is the most interesting experience you've lived in Turkey? Could you please share with us?
One of the most emotional experience I have ever lived in my career are the last weeks of operation of AHL and its closure. I spent many days and nights in Paris Airports, these airports are always working, 24h/day, like Ataturk Airport and I never had in mind that one day I will see a huge airport closing. An airport is like a family and when I was with Ataturk Airport’s team I had the feeling that I was with my airport family, as I felt in CDG and Orly. I was impressed by the team strongly committed in its task till the last minute and I was sad to see the airport closing, to see the screens with just one flight and then none. It is like you are always flying fast and one day you land. At the same time our Group is impressive and we are getting new business in Airports, like Antalya or Almaty, and in services like TAV Technologies in Saudi Arabia, Riga or Indonesia. We have already replaced one third of AHL business and in less than three years we will be bigger than before AHL closure.
3. What is your favorite band or musician?
I like diversity and it depend of the season, the day and the hour. I like Mozart Debussy, ACDC, Pixies, Nirvana, Adele, Sia, twenty one pilots.
4. Do you have a special song to listen on Monday mornings or during stressed times?
On mornings I am happy to listen my daughters at breakfast.
5. E-Book or printed book, which one you prefer?
E version for newspapers and magazine and print for books.
6. Are you a cat people or a dog people, do you have any pets in home?
I used to be a dog person. I had two dogs. Now, I am traveling a lot and we have let our daughters decide: we have one very friendly cat.
7. Can you imagine a casual day without your emails and smart phone?
It will be a great day but not a casual day. I cross the Atlantic Ocean by boat in 2017, in one week, and we had only a satellite phone for safety. It was wonderful.
8. What inspired you and brought you to your current position and career path?
Anticipation and Agility, Trust, Motivation and Team working are fundamentals.
We must be open-minded, share information, anticipate the trends and be able to change or update a solution quickly. Changing doesn’t mean that the previous decisions were wrong, it is like innovation, we can try new things only because we are able to correct or stop them if it doesn’t perform well.
I take care of Short and long term topics, with a large and inclusive view, in a job where I can support my company, my team, the area we are serving…
9. What are the specific challenges you face in the airport sector?
Sustainable growth, globalization / international competitors and opportunities for strong international group like us as TAV/ADP, new retail trends and e-commerce, and data with its fast growing share in aviation’s value chain.
10. How do you see the future airports in the light of the recent technologic developments?
Seamless thanks to biometric technologies and with a great customer experience, for each type of customer.
11. Have you ever used self check-in, self boarding and mobile check-in options for your travels? How do you evaluate the developments in this area?
I am using all of these technologies. It is still odd that you have to show many times an ID or a QR code when biometry is already available on one milestone of your journey. Future will be seamless.
12. What type of developments/changes do you expect in terminal infrastructure and design?
History helps to forecast. During the previous decade the space dedicate to security changed a lot. At the end of the ’60 people thought that small supersonic aircraft (100 pax) will be commun, in the years 2000 we were thinking that future will be with superjumbo like the A380 (close to 500 pax) and huge hubs. Customer’s expectation and process are changing fast while a terminal is built for decades. A terminal must be flexible, with large areas without pillars or stairs.