TRACECA is the official invitee to the opening ceremony of Istanbul New Airport

31.10.2018

On 29 October 2018, Official opening ceremony of the Istanbul New Airport took place on Republic Day, of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, with the attendance of President H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and more than 50 foreign leaders, ministers and high-level officials.

The third or new airport in Istanbul is among a set of mega projects planned as part of a series of objectives for Turkey's 2023 centennial. 

This airport is going to be the most important hub between Asia and Europe, mentioned Mr. Kadri Samsunlu, head of the IGA, the contractor and operator of the project.The new airport, located some 20 miles outside Istanbul on the coast of the Black Sea, will cover 76.5 million square meters (29.5 miles) upon completion.

Its first three runways should be able to serve 100 million passengers annually in 2020, with a target of accommodating as many as 200 million on six runways by 2029. President H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned about the name of the new airport, saying that it’ll be named “Istanbul Airport."

The current main international airport, Ataturk, will continue limited operations under that name. Istanbul has another airport on its Asian coast, called Sabiha Gokcen, one of 40 new airports built during Erdogan’s time in office.

Construction of the airport faced numerous obstacles, including financing challenges, labor disputes, allegations of corruption, worker strikes amid reports of horrid working conditions, and opposition from environmentalists.

The project was won by a consortium of five local construction companies, now calling itself IGA, which bid 22.2 billion euros ($25 billion) for the right to build and operate the facility for 25 years. The companies were Cengiz Insaat Sanayi & Ticaret AS, Mapa Insaat & Ticaret AS, Limak Holding AS, Kolin Insaat Turizm Sanayi & Ticaret AS, and Kalyon Insaat Sanayi & Ticaret AS.

The design of the world’s largest terminal space, at 1.3 million square meters, was led by London-based Grimshaw Global. It’ll have 228 passport control counters, with 10,000 square meters devoted to retail, 32,000 square meters to food and drink and 55,000 to duty free, according to details on IGA’s website.

When it opens, the new airport will replace Ataturk airport. Ataturk airport was Europe’s fifth largest airport by traffic in 2017, following London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. It carried 63.7 million passengers in the year, compared with London Heathrow’s 78 million.

Turk Hava Yollari AO, or Turkish Airlines, is expected to transfer the bulk of its operations to the new airport by year end, when Ataturk is to be shut down. Only a handful of flights will be operating daily out of the new airport.

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Permanent Secretaritat of the IGC TRACECA