The operator of Istanbul Airport announced on Tuesday that people who are not passengers can now enter the terminal to welcome or see off those traveling. The practice was halted amid coronavirus measures two years ago and entry to the terminals required presenting flight tickets. The IGA said in a written statement that nonpassengers can now enter the terminal through six entrances.
Though the pandemic dealt a blow to flights at Istanbul Airport, which replaced Atatürk Airport as the city’s main aviation hub in 2019, it claimed the title of Europe’s busiest airport in 2021, handling nearly 37 million passengers, according to data compiled from the Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe). It also won this title in 2020, the first year of the pandemic that disrupted flights due to travel bans imposed to and from other countries.
The airport has taken a string of measures after the pandemic snowballed across Turkey and the world in 2020, starting with the thermal screening of passengers. It established a test center for passengers against infections as well as vaccination spots for Turkish citizens. It revised its ventilation systems and deployed "hygiene teams" to keep the massive venue clean with proper sanitation against infections.
The airport’s decision to lift the ticket requirement for access to terminals comes months after the government scrapped almost all restrictions related to the pandemic. Nowadays, only masks, social distancing and hygiene rules are mandatory, while regular curfews and other stricter measures have been lifted.
Most recently, the country removed the requirement of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for unvaccinated people for travel and entrance to certain venues, but those boarding domestic flights are still required to undergo tests prior to the flight if they are not vaccinated or missing the second dose of the vaccine.