World Bulletin / News Desk
“Initially it will hold a capacity of 90 million passengers per year. In 2023, we will increase it to 150 million passengers. At last, we will have our own unique airport,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during an iftar event on Sunday.
Erdogan in the same speech also said the new airport is listed among the world’s top three.
Underscoring that Istanbul’s new airport is “highly significant for the future of Turkey”, Erdogan back in 2015 said: “With the completion of all phases of this project, Turkey, especially Istanbul, will become a global center in world’s air traffic.”
Turkey has issued a notice to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about the airport’s opening on Oct. 29, 2018 -- Turkey's Republic Day; Transportation Minister Ahmet Arslan has already announced that over 90 percent of the new airport's construction is complete.
The president previously announced that the project would be carried out through build-operate-transfer model and said it would also provide over 26 billion euros ($30.65 billion) of revenue to the government.
The airport is being built by a consortium of five contractors -- Limak, Kolin, Cengiz, Mapa and Kalyon. The name of the airport remains unclear; President Erdogan has said the five contractors could decide on the name.
In the first phase, the airport will welcome 90 million passengers annually. Following the second phase of construction, expected to be completed in 2023, it is projected that this number would rise to 150-250 million.
The new airport’s operator IGA has signed a 25-year agreement on May 2018 with German Heinemann and its Turkish partner Unifree to operate duty-free shops, according to a statement by KPMG Turkey.
With an investment of 120 million euros ($141 million), Istanbul’s new airport will be home to the world’s largest duty-free shopping complex. The 53,000 square meter shopping complex will consist of six sections, including luxury stores and bazaar concepts.
Customs and Foreign Trade Services head and partner at KPMG Murat Palaoglu in the statement said the shopping complex has been designed in tune with the trends in duty-free retailing activities.
Turkish airports have served more than 193.5 million people and 1.9 million planes, including 413,500 overflights in 2017, up by 11 percent, year-on-year, according to the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMI).
A total of 1.38 billion people have passed through the country's airports during the last 10-year period -- 2008 to 2017, the DHMI data shows.
In Turkey, several mega projects were also completed including the world’s longest suspension rail bridge Yavuz Sultan Selim, the world’s largest suspension bridge Osmangazi, the 13.6-km (8.45-mile) Marmaray Tunnel, and the first road tunnel constructed underneath the Bosphorus seabed Eurasia.
Meanwhile, the country has carried out other big projects such as the Canakkale 1915 Bridge, which will be the world’s longest suspension bridge.
After the launch of the new airport, the Ataturk Airport will be replaced by a huge park named "People's Garden", Erdogan has announced.