As its official opening ceremony is approaching, the Istanbul New Airport is witnessing an increase in interest by foreign investors who want to take their places at the airport, which will be the world's largest once complete.
The airport, which is currently under construction and will be opened on Oct. 29, will be a home for numerous facilities that will potentially turn it into a busy hub for business that are logistics-based facilities, convention centers, retail stores and hotels.
Lastly, the airport is set to house a 451-room hotel, which will be the largest in Europe in terms of the number of rooms, as an agreement was reached with London-based YOTEL, which runs hotels at many international airports. The hotel will also be among the top three in the world.
Noting that a 15-year contract was signed with YOTEL, Kadri Samsunlu, CEO and chairman of IGA Airport Management, said that many global hotel brands, including YOTEL, contacted them in order to take part in the new airport in Istanbul.
Samsunlu stated that after the financial evaluation period, they agreed with YOTEL with the income guarantee model for 15 years, adding that YOTEL will run the hotel on their behalf. He also noted that these types of businesses do not normally include an income guarantee, but that YOTEL took part in the project by believing in it and Turkey and regarding it with minimum risk. Informing that YOTEL currently operates hotels at four airports, Samsunlu said the total number of rooms at these airports equals the airport in Istanbul. "With this investment, they will double the number of their rooms. In fact, they are making themselves more prominent in airport hotel management," he said.
Samsunlu said they chose YOTEL in order to bring a new brand and a new capital to Turkey, and that they will serve as ambassadors to other countries.
YOTEL CEO Hubert Viriot said the hotel at the new airport will be their first project in Turkey. "We want the cities we go to be strong trading centers. We wanted to invest in Turkey for a long time. We examined projects in Turkey both in Istanbul and outside of Istanbul. IGA's project was ideal," Viriot continued. "This project is not only extraordinary but will also put Istanbul at the center of global travel. At the same time, it will create a very important added value for our brand."
Viriot said they entered Istanbul with the airport investment but that they will also continue their investments. "At this moment, our priority is the hotel to be realized in Istanbul's New Airport. It requires a very serious concentration. Then we plan to establish a hotel in downtown Istanbul. So, we will build a connection between the airport and the city," Viriot said. "Then we will take the steps to exist in all cities of Turkey. Currently we are in talks with some companies in Ankara and Bodrum."
Pointing to a different feature of the hotel at the new airport, Viriot said the hotel is divided into air and land sections, informing that transit passengers in the air will be able to accommodate without having to enter the country, while on the ground, companies will be mostly targeted. "It was planned for airline suppliers within the airport and those who will operate around the airport. Many business meetings are held at airports. We will manage the hotel in such a way as to serve in meetings and congresses," Viriot said.
Elaborating on the impact of the difficulties experienced especially in neighboring countries on their investment decisions in Turkey, Hubert said there are similar problems around the world and that uncertainties can be experienced. "We decided to continue our operations on a global scale. You may encounter such incidents in different countries. We signed a 15-year contract. We invest in the long term. We do not allow instantaneous events to distract us," he said. "Meanwhile, Turkey has very serious and fast-growing infrastructure along with a strong economy and a dynamic population. It is a country with great attraction, and we have full confidence."