Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has opened Istanbul’s new airport, expected to become the world’s busiest.
Erdogan named the new facility Istanbul Airport, ending months of speculation over its name, on Monday.
“Istanbul is not only our largest city,” he said before a massive crowd of dignitaries, officials, and journalists, gathered beneath the vaulted ceiling of the airport terminal, “It is our most important brand. It’s a beautiful jewel between two seas. It can be compared to the sun of this earth.”
Handling 90 million passengers each year at launch, capacity will increase to 200 million if demand justifies it. The new airport’s main terminal has an area of 1,300,000 square metres and capacity for 88 aircraft. There will be a total of four terminals by the time the airport is completed in 2028.
Built to replace the city’s overcrowded Atatürk Airport, the EUR10.5 billion Istanbul Airport will see only limited commercial flights until January.
Largest customer airline Turkish Airlines will move all its flights to the new airport over the next few months, with the first destinations, Ankara and Ercan launching on Wednesday October 31.
The airline announced previously it would move all remaining flights to the airport on December 31.
Turkish Airlines flies to 47 domestic and 230 international destinations in 119 countries, excluding those only served by Turkish Airlines Cargo.
Turkish flies to 46 destinations in Africa via Istanbul.
Kwame Appiah with agency reports