Later this year a new airport will be opening in Istanbul. When the first phase of the project is complete (later this year), it will feature the world’s largest single terminal, at 11 million square feet, with a capacity of 90 million passengers per year. When the entire airport project is complete in 2028, it will be the world’s largest airport, with a capacity of about 200 million passengers (obviously a lot can change between now and then). This is an especially big development for Turkish Airlines, which flies to more countries than any other airline in the world, and will use this as their primary hub.
Some more details have now been shared of how this airport transition is expected to happen. The transfer from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport to Istanbul’s new airport is expected to be done in 48 hours on October 30-31, 2018. This will be immediately after the opening ceremony on October 29 (Turkey’s Republic Day), for which the president will be in attendance.
The State Airports Authority has now finalized arrangements for how the transition will take place. According to the plan, foreign airlines won’t fly to Istanbul at all on October 30-31, to make the transition as smooth as possible by reducing air traffic. Turkish Airlines, on the other hand, plans to not fly to the new airport for the first 18 hours of the transition. Prior to this period they’re scheduling takeoffs from Ataturk Airport, and after this period they’re scheduling landings at Istanbul’s new airport.
Meanwhile ground vehicles will be transported to the new airport by road (which should be quite a sight to see, as presumably we’ll see catering trucks, baggage carts, etc., traveling on highways between the two airports). Once the transition is complete, Istanbul’s new airport will allow 35 takeoffs and landings per hour, while Ataturk Airport will allow just five takeoffs and landings per hour, as it will be used primarily for cargo planes and private jets (all airlines are moving to the new airport).
We have a lot of new airport terminals to look forward to over the next couple of years. In addition to Istanbul getting a new airport altogether, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, and Muscat (among others) are getting new terminals, which should represent a nice improvement for the passenger experience.
I can’t wait to see what Turkish’s lounge at the new airport will look like. If they make it even better than the excellent lounge they have at the old airport, it should be pretty spectacular.
Istanbul’s new airport will be about 35km northwest of the city, while the current airport is to the southwest of the city.
(Tip of the hat to YHBU)