The goal is absolutely bold: receive 200 million passengers by year when it is completed, around 2025 or 2027. This means almost double what Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta receives today, the largest airport in the world. This is the New Istanbul airport in Turkey.
Open on October 29th, not coincidentally, the 95th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, the new airport is another showcase of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known for the tough positions with his opponents.
What is the secret for Istanbul to go beyond other major airports in the world like Heathrow, Beijing, Dubai and Atlanta? The answer is a privileged location.
For some time now cities like Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Addis Ababa rely on their position between America and Europe and Asia and Oceania. These airports became the natural international hubs for passengers traveling between these continents.
Istanbul, in fact, is in a very central position, three hours from about 130 major cities, almost half of them capitals. So it seemed natural that the Turkish government decided to build a giant to serve not only the passengers who leave and arrive in the country, but also serve as a point of connection for more people.
The New Istanbul Airport, however, impresses by the superlative numbers. It is located about 35 km (22 miles) from the downtown and 40 km (25 miles) from the current Atatürk Airport and so can be sized to accommodate the immense passenger movement expected for it.
There are almost 7,600 hectares of area, four times the size of Atlanta airport, six runways and the concept of airport city, expected to receive numerous developments such as office buildings, campus, museums, exhibition area, golf course , hotels, hospital and even a mosque.
The first phase of the project, which was partially opened on the 29th, includes the main terminal with a capacity of 90 million passengers (and considered the largest in the world in one roof), two runways and the control tower, which has a characteristic tulip format.
Despite this, only a few flights will land at the airport until December when it will take over all the flights from the old and crowded Atatürk Airport which will be closed. After all, it was invested $12 billion in its construction that began in 2015 and took 42 months to reach the current stage.
The main airline, Turkish Airlines, should benefit from the giant airport to expand its network of flights to various destinations in the world and enjoy the same strategic advantage that Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways have – both companies have eliminated many competitors on some routes for the privilege of having well-located airports.
If the new airport in Istanbul will one day will be greater than Atlanta, Beijing or Dubai, it is not known, but demand seems to exist after all, the old Turkish airport is already one of the 15 busiest in the world with about 50 million passengers. It’s only necessary to double this number.