Turkey's largest transportation project and a candidate to be a global aviation hub, Istanbul Airport began to fully serve passengers from around the world in April.
To become one of the most important aviation centers in the world by capitalizing on Turkey's auspicious geographic location and Turkish Airlines vast flight network, Istanbul Airport is preparing to raise the number of carriers organizing flights from this new hub.
Kadri Samsunlu, the CEO of IGA Airport Operations, said that 66 airlines are currently using Istanbul Airport, while two companies would launch flights in the summer. "We receive high demand from the Chinese. We are keenly analyzing this market," he said, adding: "We will reach 70 companies by the end of the year. Thirty-three airlines have increased their flight frequency for the summer season."
Pointing to the 30,000-square-meter duty-free space, Samsunlu said that due to the retail mix generated at the airport, the per capita expenditures increased by 15-20% compared to Atatürk Airport and that 65% of the areas in the shopping center were rented.
Noting that many companies from the West to the East knocked on IGA's door after the inauguration, Samsunlu said infrastructure funds and sovereign funds were seeking returns.
"We wanted to measure the value of our assets. Istanbul Airport is a global entity. The bosses do not think about selling the airport. They are very happy to run this place," said.
He further explained that the walking distance in the airport terminal was similar to that of the major ports in the world, stressing that they were working on a new method for the elderly, families with children and the disabled. "We are conducting a special study on these three groups. We will get these groups from the piers, reducing the walking distances and lift needs upon landing," he said. "We are thinking about getting foldable wheelchairs. We will give these chairs to the passenger's companion. They will fold and leave them right before boarding the plane."
Samsunlu said that the taxi-in time was an average of 24 minutes, while the taxi-out time averaged 14.5 to 15 minutes. He also stressed that these times would decrease following the opening of the third runway in June 2020. "This runway will be on the east side. Taxi times at Ataturk Airport averaged 20 minutes," he added.