By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) – Phase one of Istanbul’s new airport with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers is ready for its official opening on Monday.
The inauguration ceremony will take place on Republic Day, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic, with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and more than 50 foreign leaders, ministers, and high-level officials.
The €6-billion ($7.2 billion) first stage, which was built in nearly three years through a public-private partnership model, is among a set of mega projects planned as part of a series of objectives for Turkey’s 2023 centennial.
On Monday, two runways — 3,750 and 4,100 meters long — will go into service as a part of the first phase, including three separate airstrips.
According to the IGA consortium, the contractor and operator of the project, over the next 10 years the new airport will reach an annual capacity of 200 million passengers with the completion of all four phases with six runways.
Turkish airports welcomed nearly 164 million people between January and September this year, while over 31 percent of air passengers used Turkey’s busiest airport, Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
Following the country’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines’ shift to the new airport by the end of this year, the Ataturk Airport campus will transition to other uses, such as training activities, aviation fairs, and civil use.
At full capacity, Istanbul’s new airport is set to become a global aviation hub by hosting more than 100 airlines and flights to over 300 destinations around the world.