By Arife Yildiz Unal
ANKARA (AA) – Leaders from around the world will take part in the grand opening of the first phase of Istanbul's new airport on Oct. 29.
Built by a consortium of five contractors — Limak, Kolin, Cengiz, Mapa and Kalyon, the ceremony will kick off on the anniversary of the Turkish Republic’s founding with over 50 high-ranking guests from at least 18 countries including the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Qatari emir and Iran’s foreign minister.
It was previously announced that the project would be carried out through a build-operate-transfer model. It will provide over 26 billion euros ($30.65 billion) of revenue to the government.
Spread over an area of over 76 million square meters (818 square feet), the first phase of the airport will serve 90 million passengers.
With the remaining phases to be completed by 2023, the airport is to sport six separate runways with a capacity of 500 aircraft and an annual 200 million passengers.
It 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.
The airport’s maiden voyage will be to Turkey’s capital Ankara on Oct. 31, with the first international flight to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus the following day.
It is expected that a daily 2,000 planes will go through the airport by the end of the year to over 350 destinations by over 250 carriers.