Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened the first phase of the new Istanbul Airport on November 2, 2018. Full operations will commence in April 2019. The first phase consists of the main terminal building, two runways, an Air Traffic Control Tower and supporting buildings. When fully operational, the new airport will have the capacity to serve 200 million passengers annually. That’s about twice the number currently served at the world’s busiest airport Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which served 104 million in 2017.
Istanbul’s new airport will employ about 225,000 people directly and indirectly by 2025; an Istanbul Airport Economic Impact Report prepared in 2016 suggests that the economic value created by airport-related activities in 2025 will correspond to 4.89 percent of the GNP. The new airport complex, launched in 2013, is built to compete with Dubai and Abu Dhabi as major East-West linking points, much as Istanbul has done for many centuries. Even before the opening of the new Istanbul Airport, its predecessor, Istanbul Atatürk Airport, served nearly 64 million passengers in 2017 and more than 270 non-stop destinations. The new airport will serve more than 300 destinations.
The new airport features:
“Istanbul Airport City will constitute a modern living space where airport passengers can meet their accommodation, shopping, social and cultural needs,” according to airport developer and operator İGA. “Istanbul Airport City will feature hotels, shopping centers, office space, private residences, worship areas, educational facilities, culture and arts centers, hospitals and a trade show area.”