From l-r: Abdullah Nergiz, Airline and Cargo Marketing Director, Istanbul New Airport; Derya Serbetci Acar, Director for Cultural and Tourism Affairs at the Turkish Consulate, Toronto; Zafer Bolukbasi, General Manager, Toronto, Turkish Airlines
From l-r: Abdullah Nergiz, Airline and Cargo Marketing Director, Istanbul New Airport; Derya Serbetci Acar, Director for Cultural and Tourism Affairs at the Turkish Consulate, Toronto; Zafer Bolukbasi, General Manager, Toronto, Turkish Airlines

Istanbul’s new airport is the “largest project in Turkey’s history”

TORONTO — In a bid to get airlines to resume flights to Turkey, the Turkish government has announced a brand new airport in Istanbul, set for completion in October 2018.

Upon opening, all scheduled flights flying into and out of Istanbul Atatürk Airport will be diverted to the yet-to-be-named airport, at which point Atatürk will then be used primarily for charters and private jets.

Located north of Istanbul Atatürk Airport on Turkey’s European side, the new facility will be more than twice the size of London Heathrow, spanning a total of 7,594 hectares and accommodating 150 million passengers per year. Abdullah Nergiz, Airline and Cargo Marketing Director of Istanbul New Airport, who briefed media and industry partners yesterday at Turkish Airlines’ Toronto office, described the airport as the “largest project in Turkey’s history.”

After winning an open auction for the new facility, a consortium comprised of five different companies will head up operations for the next 25 years. Construction phases will be “triggered by passenger numbers,” said Nergiz, with phase one to include four runways. A 400-room airport hotel (still unbranded), a 30,000 square-metre food and beverage area, a separate harbour and a dedicated subway line are also planned. Further down the road, beyond the year 2025, Nergiz also hinted at a possible high-speed railway directly connected to the airport.

“There are currently 56 airlines that fly into Atatürk Airport. With this new airport, we want to see other carriers flying to Istanbul,” said Nergiz. “In the past two years, many airlines have cancelled flights to Turkey, including Air Canada. Hopefully, the new airport will get them to come back.”