Istanbul will have the largest airport in the world

The New Istanbul Airport will replace the Atatürk Airport. The first stage will be inaugurated in the month of October.

The strategic position of Turkey has made it an important point of connection for travelers and goods moving between Europe or Africa and Asia or Oceania. That, added to the increase in domestic flights and tourist demand, have led the Istanbul-Atatürk airport to become the fifteenth busiest on the planet, consolidating the city of Istanbul as animportant hub for communications and air traffic to world level.

Istanbul currently has two airports: Atatürk, the main and busiest in the country, located in the European sector of the city, and Sabiha Gökçen, built in the Asian sector to meet the growing demand for passengers in Atatürk.

Map of locations airports in Istanbul

In order to decompress the current occupation at Atatürk Airport and to serve a larger number of passengers, the Turkish government launched a mega-project: the New Istanbul Airport.

Planned to become the largest airport in the world, it will be able to serve up to 150 million passengers per year and will completely replace the current Atatürk.

Istanbul Airport render

The project is in charge of the London studio of architects Grimshaw, the Nordic Office of Architecture and Haptic Architects. It demanded an investment of around 8.300 million euros and is expected to generate more than 18.000 million euros of pre-tax profits in a period of 25 years.

The New Istanbul Airport will be located 36 kilometers northwest of Istanbul and 38 kilometers north of the current Atatürk airport. Its terminal will have an area of 1.300.000 square meters and when it is fully completed it will be able to serve 150 million passengers per year, 114 planes will be able to embark at the same time and will employ 225.000 people.

Istanbul Airport project at night

Istanbul new airport inside

Istanbul new airport render boarding room

Stages of Construction

The development of the megaproject will take place in two stages. The first one, which is 80% complete this month, includes the construction of the terminal, 3 tracks, taxiways, VIP lounges, hotels, medical center and a capacity for 90 million passengers per year.

This first phase will be inaugurated on October 29, the national holiday that commemorates the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

From then on, the New Istanbul Airport will replace the current Atatürk airport, in a process that will not require more than 48 hours.

Istanbul Airport runway under construction

Istanbul New Airport runway

The second stage of construction includes works that will take the surface of the terminal to about 1.500.000 square meters, 6 tracks in total, 16 taxiways, buildings with parking, convention centers, power and waste treatment plants.

The capacity of the airport will grow and will be able to serve 150 million passengers per year. This second stage would be ready by the year 2023.

Sunset at new airport istanbul

Inside airport istanbul

Sustainable airport

It is a global trend (and it also becomes an obligation), that new projects of any kind are more sustainable, friendly to the environment and as effective as possible in terms of optimizing resources and energy use, and the New Istanbul Airport is one of them.

The roof consists of aluminum panels connected to each other, which by day let in sunlight and at night they are illuminated with a complex series of LED lights.

On the other hand, the air conditioning was planned in such a way that the air currents do the work by themselves, saving in systems or motors of high energy consumption.

Modern roof of the airport

Modern roof and air system of the airport

Current airports in Istanbul

  • Istanbul-Atatürk Airport (IST). It moved some 63.727.448 passengers during 2017, placing it in 5th place in the busiest airports in Europe and 15th in the world. It is the main airport in Turkey, has flights to four continents and serves as a base for the huge Turkish Airlines airline, as well as Atlas Global and Onur Air. It will be replaced by the New Istanbul Airport.
  • Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW). Some 31.385.841 passengers passed through its facilities in 2017. It is located east of Istanbul and is used by conventional and low-cost airlines. It currently serves as a hub for AnadoluJet, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines.

Once inaugurated, the New Istanbul Airport will carry the IATA code “IST”, which currently belongs to the Ataturk Airport. The latter will be assigned the code “ISL”.

Forecasts estimate that by 2025 it will be the largest airport in the world, with 120 million passengers per year, 35.5 of them on domestic flights and 84.9 on international flights.

Map of airports and transport in Istanbul
As the map shows, the New Istanbul Airport can be accessed from the city through trains and highways, guaranteeing an easy and fast connection.

In an official press release, the authorities of the new airport informed about the start of the second stage of training for the personnel (employees of airlines, ground services and other involved companies) that are currently working in Atatürk. The training consists of informing, familiarizing and giving support in all the activities that concern the transfer of operations from one airport to another.

Render of entrance istanbul new airport

On the other hand, it was also informed about the way in which the start of operations will be carried out in the New Istanbul Airport and the suspension in Atatürk.

Before October 25, only aircraft on test flights will use the new airport. Between the 25th and the 30th of October, only a limited number of flights will be carried out in order to bring materials and equipment from Atatürk Airport. The removal process will begin on October 30 at 3:00 a.m. and will end on October 31 at midnight. The materials will be transported predominantly by land.

Both airports will offer flights in a limited number during this 45-hour process. As of midnight on October 31, Atatürk airport will be closed for commercial passenger transport of domestic and international airlines on scheduled and non-scheduled flights.

First landing at the Istanbul New Airport
The presidential plane made the first landing at the new airport on June 21. The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was on board the flight that was received with the traditional water bow.

Images and video: İGA – İstanbul New Airport.
Iani Nikolov
News Reporter

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