Enjoying continuous growth in the number of passengers and airlines it has served, Istanbul Airport is poised to welcome more airlines this year.
Kadri Samsunlu, the chairman and general manager of the airport operator, IGA, said the company has increased the slot capacity at the airport, enabling 11 airline companies to launch flights from the airport. “We have made agreements with six new carriers for 2020,” he said Tuesday in his address at the Tourism Investors Forum (TIF 2020). "This trend will continue in the coming days,” he added.
“Currently, airlines hold flights to 126 countries from Istanbul Airport. France is the closest country to this number with flights to 90 countries. The most important reason for the high figure at Istanbul Airport is Turkey’s geographical location. It is possible to arrive in 60 capitals and 120 destinations with a three-hour flight from Istanbul,” Samsunlu explained. With a narrow-body aircraft, it is possible to fly to Senegal, Nigeria, Kenya and India from Istanbul, he added.
The IGA chairman also remarked that the airport will contribute $40 billion to the economy when all phases are completed.
Istanbul Airport hosted 25% of the total passengers traveling through Turkey in 2019. Leaving a busy year behind, Istanbul Airport welcomed some 52.6 million air passengers, data released by the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMİ) revealed. Some 326,713 commercial flights took off from the mega-airport last year, constituting 21% of the national total.
Turkish airports saw 209.09 million air passengers – including transit passengers – in 2019, down by 0.9% compared to the previous year.
Istanbul Airport officially opened on Oct. 29, 2018, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey and took over air traffic from Ataturk Airport on April 6, 2019.
At a full annual capacity of 200 million passengers – with the completion of all four phases with six runways by 2028 – Istanbul Airport is set to become a global aviation hub bringing in more than 100 airlines and flights to over 300 destinations around the world.