Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) CEO, Yusuf Akçayoğlu, said a total of 40,000 turtles were collected from the construction site of Istanbul's third airport and moved to other parts of the forest. A group of journalists was allowed to watch the ongoing construction work on Istanbul's third airport from the air during a helicopter tour. The tour was also attended by the authorities of IGA - the performer and concessionaire company, which was established by the consortium of Turkey's five leading construction companies (Cengiz İnşaat, Limak İnşaat, Kolin İnşaat, Kalyon İnşaat and Mapa İnşaat).
Delivering a press statement following the helicopter tour at the construction site, IGA board member Nihat Özdemir said the first phase of the airport will have a capacity of 90 million passengers and three runways in north-south direction. Özdemir also said 15 percent of the first phase of construction has been completed, adding that the rest of the airport is aimed to be completed by Feb. 26, 2018, on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's birthday. Özdemir stated that the airport will need 250 megawatts of energy after it comes into operation, adding that this amount is equal to the energy used in the city of Afyon alone. The Turkish Electricity Transmission Company (TEİAŞ) will construct a transformer field in the airport to satisfy this requirement.
Touching on IGA's sensitivities about the environment and animal rights during the construction process, Akçayoğlu said the company collected 40,000 turtles from the construction site relocating them individually to other parts of the forest and submitted many bulbous plants to the Atatürk Arboretum in Istanbul. There are environmental engineers working for the project, which received an Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report, Ayçayoğlu said.
Stressing that the criticisms of IGA's environmental sensitivity are completely unfair, Akçayoğlu said this work is being conducted in cooperation with the Regional Directorate of Forestry. Apart from IGA, Akçayoğlu said there is no company in the world that employs five ornithologists and that IGA's bird-watching team receives support from world-renowned bird watchers.