Turkey’s new Istanbul airport is set for a soft opening today (29 October).
The airport will open with just five flights a day – three domestic and two international – with a bigger launch planned for the end of the year.
The official name for the new hub will be revealed at the opening ceremony, with the city’s Ataturk Airport set to wind down commercial traffic next year.
IGA Airport group built and will operate the hub for the next 25 years. The company’s chief executive Kadri Samsunlu has confirmed that the airport will open in four phases.
Following the soft launch, the second phase will see the airport handle 90M passengers per years across its two runways.
The third runway will then open in 16 months time with a capacity of 45 aircraft movements per hour. The final stage will see all six runways in operation, allowing for 200M passengers and 4.5M tonnes of cargo to pass through the airport each year.
Samsunlu said: “This is the largest airport in the world to be built from scratch, and will be able to handle 200M passengers per year in ten years’ time.
“We are here to supply capacity not for today but for the next 25 years.”
Earlier this year, 500 workers were arrested after protests broke out over working conditions.
When the first phase is completed, it will have the world’s largest terminal under one roof, with a gross floor area of nearly 1.1M square metres.
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