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First phase of world’s ‘largest’ airport opens

Istanbul aims to become leading hub between east and west

Image Getty


Set across 76 million sqm, and with the capacity to initially serve 90 million passengers a year, Istanbul’s new airport officially opens today (Monday). 


The inauguration of the first phase of the new facility, which for now is simply called Istanbul New Airport, takes place this afternoon (4pm local time). 


According to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, the remaining phases of the airport are due to be completed by 2023, when the giant hub expects to feature six separate runways with a capacity of 500 planes, and to be able to handle a whopping 200 million passengers a year (almost double the traffic of the world’s current busiest airport, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson). 



Eventually, Turkey anticipates some 2,000 planes to pass through the hub to over 350 destinations by over 250 carriers every day. 


With closed carparks for 70,000 cars, the airport will also be home to the world’s largest duty-free shopping complex, which will be spread across 53,000 sqm. 


While the airport will technically commence operations this week, a very limited schedule means Ataturk Airport will remain the city’s main airport until December, when all operations will relocate to the new facility. 



According to AP, Turkish Airlines will initially fly out of the hub to local destinations Ankara, Antalya and Izmir, as well as to Baku (Azerbaijan) and Ercan (Northern Cyprus).


“This airport is going to be the most important hub between Asia and Europe,” Kadri Samsunlu, CEO of the five-company consortium Istanbul Grand Airport, told the press last week.


According to Turkey’s ftnnews, Mr Samsunlu said the airport would also become an “important architectural contribution to the great city of Istanbul”.


“Besides its modern facilities, comforts, and unrivalled connectivity, ?stanbul New Airport has the capacity and security to keep growing, and growing in a sustainable way, far into the future.”


The official name of the airport, which Architectural Digest said would be bigger than Manhattan, will be announced at a later date.


All images (except top) IGA by Havalimani Vaz Aci



Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 29 October 2018

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