Ten airline companies from nine countries have launched flights to Istanbul for the first time since flights were moved to Istanbul Airport, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan said in a meeting with the airport reporters.
Speaking at the opening of the press room of the Istanbul Airports Correspondents Association (İHMD), Turhan noted that Turkey has great potential in terms of the future of the aviation industry, and added, "We live in a region where 60 countries can be reached in a three-hour flight. There is no such country in the world," the minister said.
The Turkish aviation industry has made major breakthroughs in both national and international areas and domestic flights have reached 56 destinations in seven centers from 26 destinations in two centers in 2002.
According to Turhan, two airline companies were conducting international flights to 60 destinations in 50 countries in 2003, while airline companies are offering flights to 318 destinations in 124 countries as of the end of 2018. "In the shadow of these developments, the number of airline passengers has skyrocketed to 210 million from 34 million in 2003.
Over the last decade, Turkey has grown three times above the world average in the international air transportation industry. The number of airplanes has reached 515, while seat capacity has reached 97,400. The turnover of the civil aviation industry reached TL 110 billion in 2018, while the number of personnel employed reached 205,000," Turhan said.
The minister further stated that Atatürk Airport, having hosted some 1,300 airplanes on a daily basis and 68 million passengers last year, fell short of satisfying the demand in recent years, adding that the airport also failed to give new slots to many cities abroad.
According to Turhan, giant airplanes, which are important for the Europe-Asia-Africa-Middle East corridor, which has a market share of 66% in transfer passengers, could not land at Atatürk Airport already, although Istanbul is located in the center of this corridor. "So, we determined the situation in advance and demonstrated that Istanbul had to have a new collect-distribute-work-transfer airport in order to create an additional service capacity, and as a result, we initiated the construction of Istanbul Airport," the minister explained.
Turhan remarked that Istanbul Airport has served more than 49,000 airplanes in a period as short as 1.5 months although the first phase fully came into service at the beginning of last year. The airport also hosted 1.7 million domestic passengers and 5.9 million international passengers until May 19, amounting to a total of 7.6 million. Emphasizing that large airports in many countries do not serve as many passengers as this on an annual basis, the minister said that 10 airline companies from nine countries have launched flights to Istanbul for the first time since flights were moved to Istanbul Airport. Also, the airport has given slots to Chinese, Indian, Tunisian, Montenegrin, Algerian and Ethiopian airline companies.
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