General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMİ) General Manager Serdar Hüseyin Yıldırım said the construction of the third airport in Istanbul is ahead of schedule thanks to amenable weather conditions. "Rough construction of the terminal should be completed by the end of this year. The terminal will be revealed in September or October when looked at from above along with projections of two runways."
Explaining that the number of workdays increased due to small amount of rain in autumn, Yıldırım said they are doing all they can to meet the deadline, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says is Feb. 26, the first quarter of 2018. According to Yıldırım, it is the world's biggest construction area, and it is one of a kind. About 3,000 pieces of heavy construction equipment are working, and everybody has his or her eyes on the project. "That's why we are doing this with meticulous care. We have come so far. Hopefully, it will keep going like this."
Explaining that work related to the aerospace design of the airport is still in progress, Yıldırım said: "Boeing Jeppesen approached us during our visit in the [United] States and said they were really interested in this issue, and they wanted to offer their support. Software-driven support will be provided. The related courses will be organized as well, and our DHMİ personnel will also benefit from these courses. The provision and placement of all the devices, such as navigational aids and radar, are all connected to one program."
Indicating that the tulip-design foundation for the traffic control tower was chosen via international competition, Yıldırım said: "Towers are like status symbols in these kinds of buildings. It will be a nice, high tower. Its construction has also started. The contracting company plans to complete rough construction by the end of the year. It can be completed at this rate. Work on parking and preparations for metro stations are running in parallel."
According to Yıldırım, along with the opening of the new airport, 70 million passengers are expected in 2018 and could jump to 90 million. The first stage includes two runways. Terminal capacity will be 90 million, but it does not mean that 90 million passengers will come all at once, Yıldırım said.
"I expect about 70 million in 2018. It will gradually increase. After the third runway opens in 2019, the number of passengers will increase more rapidly."
Commenting that news regarding the closure of Hakkari Yüksekova Airport does not reflect reality, Yıldırım said airports are not closed during operations; on the contrary, they are kept open round the clock. Yıldırım thanked personnel working during that period as well. Indicating that they were working on a system for drones, Yıldırım said drones approaching airport borders would be detected and intercepted by remote control. Yıldırım also spoke of talks with Bulgaria and Romania concerning landing and departure routes of flights, and they were pleased that air traffic to these countries would increase.