Istanbul airports served more than 102.2 million domestic and international passengers last year, official data showed yesterday.
According to the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMİ), Atatürk, Sabiha Gökçen and Istanbul Airport served 6.7 million passengers more, compared to the previous year, eventually breaking the 100-million mark for the first time in Turkey's civil aviation history.
Last year, a total of 68 million people, including 19.1 million domestic and 48.8 million international passengers, used Atatürk Airport, while Sabiha Gökçen Airport served 34.1 million passengers with 22.5 million on domestic flights and 11.7 million passengers on international flights.
Some 95,330 passengers traveled through Istanbul Airport, which is set to become the world's largest airport, capable of handling 200 million passengers, once completed.
The first phase of the airport opened on Oct. 29, 2018, on the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. The grand opening ceremony was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish ministers, officials and heads of state from around the world. Commercial flights at the new airport started early November. After the opening, the flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) started using the airport, which hosted 65,124 domestic and 30,206 international passengers on scheduled flights.
The airport has the potential to welcome 90 million passengers annually and following the second phase of construction, expected to be completed in 2023, this number will reach around 200 million. The airport will operate flights to 350 destinations worldwide. Meanwhile, the number of passengers traveling through all Turkish airports, including direct transits, reached 210.2 million as of the end of 2018, recording an 8.6 percent increase compared to the previous year, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan announced during the weekend.
Around 48.6 percent of all domestic and international passengers using Turkish airports during this period traveled through Istanbul's three airports.