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Istanbul's New Airport is Fully Operational

THOUGH Istanbul Airport - the city's USD $11 billion new hub - opened on 31 October 2018, the full transfer of all commercial passenger flights only completed last week.

The city's former main airport, the Istanbul Atatürk Airport opened to the public in 1953 and was already one of the busiest airports in Europe.

The facility could not be expanded any further as it was built relatively close to the city, forcing officials to opt for moving and replacing the airport altogether.

Above: The airport's main terminal under construction (image courtesy of Istanbul Airport).

The first phase of the project, which broke ground in June 2014, consisted of four runways and the airport's main 1,440,000 square metre terminal, which would be capable of handling 90 million passengers a year.

This makes it the largest single airport terminal in the world.

Further expansions, featuring new runways, satellite concourses and another terminal are planned and could see the airport increase its capacity to 200 million passengers a year.

Above: The new terminal is designed to handle 90 million passengers a year (image courtesy of Istanbul Airport).

Only a handful of mostly domestic flights have been departing and arriving at Istanbul Airport since it opened.

The full transfer was meant to occur before the end of last year but had to be pushed back to April 2019.

Above: A number of assets from Atatürk Airport, including aircraft-towing vehicles, were moved to the new base in less than two days ( image courtesy of Istanbul Airport).

The full transfer took place between 03:00 on Friday 4 April and 20:00 on Saturday 5 April.

During this time more than 10,000 pieces of equipment including aircraft-towing vehicles and 44 tonnes of security sensors were moved between the two airports, which are located 44 kilometres apart.

Above: Together with yet-to-be-built extensions, Istanbul airport will be able to serve 200 million travellers each year (image courtesy of Istanbul Airport).

While there are no confirmed plans about the fate of the Atatürk Airport, it has been suggested it could remain open to private jets, serve as an aviation academy, or that parts of it could be given over to build a new convention centre.


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