Istanbul is about to open the world’s busiest airport

Inaugurated October 29th, 2018 for the 95th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey by the President Erdogan and in the presence of several world leaders among which the Emir of Qatar, this colossal “greenfield” project led by the international architectural firm Grimshaw will replace Ataturk International Airport and give to the historic Constantinople the biggest airport in the world.

With two terminals situated on a gigantic site of 76 square kilometres, Istanbul Airport (ISL) is looking to serve up to 200 million passengers annually by 2028 thanks to its 6-runway development on the Black Sea coast. By comparison, this is over three times the capacity of Ataturk International Airport (IST) that welcomed 64 million passengers in 2017 and almost seven times the capacity of Istanbul’s third airport, Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) with 30 million passengers the same year. Istanbul Airport will be one of the top airports in the world as illustrated on the infographics below.

Serving 200 million passengers annually would place Istanbul Airport far ahead of the top five busiest airports in the world, namely Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (104 million passengers in 2017), Beijing Capital International Airport (96 million passengers), Dubai International Airport (88 million passengers), Tokyo Haneda Airport (85 million passengers) and Los Angeles International Airport (84,5 million passengers).

In terms of airport size, Istanbul Airport will be the third biggest airport in the world after King Fahd International Airport and its unsurpassed 776-km2 surface and Denver International Airport with over 135 km2. It will rank higher than Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (69 km2) and Orlando International Airport (54 km2).

Scheduled to enter in service on January 1st, 2019, Istanbul Airport will initially allow 35 take-offs and landings per hour. The XXL airport is situated about an hour away from the heart of Istanbul and promises to be modern and highly efficient. Its declared ambition is to offer unparalleled passenger capacity, rapid economic growth and to reflect Istanbul in a light, spacious and easy-to-cruise environment. There is no doubt that this magnificent airport equipped with a control tower designed by Pininfarina will also benefit the flagship carrier, Turkish Airlines, which is planning to introduce the Istanbul-Sydney route by June 2019.

As of January 1st, 2019, Ataturk International Airport (IST) will primarily be used for private jets, cargo planes and crew training flights. Ataturk, located approximately 45 minutes away from the city centre, will hence be LunaJets’ recommended airport to reach or depart from Istanbul by private jet. Unless your private flight is connecting with a commercial flight arriving or departing from Istanbul Airport (ISL).

Rumour has it that parts of the Ataturk international airport might also be turned into city gardens.

Turkey predicts that the new Istanbul Airport will significantly boost the Turkish economy and eventually become the biggest hub airport in the world.