New Istanbul Airport, the world's new aviation centre
-A Monitor Report 01 Nov, 2018 | 626 Views | -+
Istanbul: The new Istanbul Airport made a soft opening on October 29, marking the anniversary of modern Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the new Airport at a lavish opening ceremony of first phase of the facility, which was attended by more than 50 foreign dignitaries from at least 18 different countries.
"Istanbul is a beautiful jewel between two seas ... that's why we called [the airport] Istanbul," Erdogan said at the ceremony, which coincided with the 95th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
Turkish Airlines operated its maiden flight from the new airport to Ankara from October 30 and will operate regular flights from the new airport to three domestic destinations: Ankara, Antalya and Izmir.
All aviation operations will be gradually moved to the new airport in December, when Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, named after Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, will be shut for commercial carriers.
"At the end of December, there will be the hard opening or the 'big bang opening' which means that the entire business at the Ataturk airport will be transferred here," said Kadri Samsunlu, Director General, Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA).
Istanbul New Airport, on the shores of the Black Sea, will serve 90 million passengers annually in its first phase. Once it is completely functional, it is expected to serve up to 200 million travellers annually. Spread over 19,000 acres, the six runways will beat Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson in terms of traffic, which is currently the world's busiest airport.
Located within three hours of three continents, the new airport is well-placed to service 60 capitals and 120 countries, and is built in the style of international east-west mega-hubs such as Doha and Dubai.