Oct. 29, 2018 had a distinct meaning for Turkey, simultaneously marking the 95th anniversary of the foundation of the republic and the inauguration of Istanbul's new airport, which will be the largest in the world. The airport, one of the most important legacies of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has a controversial history full of ups and downs riddled with fights and preventive attempts. Political obstacles were put in place to prevent its construction. Attempts were made to prevent it citing environmental conditions. Since it will also change the world's flight traffic, it disturbed countries with major airports in the West.
Despite all the obstructive attempts, Erdoğan inaugurated the airport on Monday. Back in 2013, even Gezi Park protesters tried to stop the construction of the airport, poised to be the largest one in the world that will connect the world with an annual passenger capacity of 200 million.
On the occasion of its inauguration, I would like to share some of the project's details in today's article.
The first phase of the airport, which will serve a total of 250 airlines, was completed in 42 months. The tender was held in 2013 and 24/7 construction has commenced since the project broke ground. Once complete, it will handle 500 planes and 200 million annual passengers. A total of 2,000 planes will be able to take off and land daily. Thousands of people have been provided jobs for the project, which was financed by Turkish banks.
The airport is located on a very strategic spot. It has easy access to many parts of Europe. As of this week, two runways will open, and this will be increased to five when completed. Passport controls will be held at 128 points. This airport was designed with transit flights in mind. This is a very important aspect of the project since many existing major airports have witnessed significant increases in the numbers of transit passengers in recent years, but have been unable to effectively address the challenge of the rising numbers in a practical way. However, Istanbul Airport was designed in line with this need. The project was conceptualized so that passengers could leave the airport quickly without waiting for passport control and baggage.
The flights, set to start on Oct. 31, will also boost global competition. Many airlines could not fly as often as they wished from Atatürk Airport due to inadequate capacity. As flights and airlines will increase at the new airport, competition will also accelerate. This is expected to have a positive impact on prices.
The name of the airport spurred controversy, much like the project itself, and many names were suggested. In the end, Erdoğan announced that the airport was named "Istanbul Airport." I think this is the right choice to unite everyone, given that Istanbul is a very important hub. For the rise and promotion of the city, there could not be a more accurate channel than an airport that will connect it to the world.
With the opening of this airport, the number of airports in Turkey rose to 56. This number was 22 when the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power. New moves are planned in the field of aviation for the upcoming period. In addition to increasing the capacities of existing airports, six new ones will be put into service at various points in Anatolia. The total passenger capacity for these will rise to 193 million annually. These developments will also place Turkish Airlines at the top of global aviation.