Turkish Airlines to transfer operations to Istanbul’s new airport ‘within 18 hours’
Turkish Airlines is set to transfer operations from Atatürk Airport to Istanbul’s currently under-construction third airport with 600 trucks within the first 18 hours of the new airport opening, the company’s General Manager Bilal Ekşi has announced.
Ekşi said all processes regarding transferring operations to the third airport would progress fast.
“We will be there on the first day and continue to carry our passengers without any problems,” Ekşi said.
“Nearly 600 trucks will carry equipment to the new airport within 18 hours. It is a large operation, but we have completed all necessary preparations to perform it,” he said.
The third airport in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, is set to open on Oct. 29, Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan was quoted on Feb. 10 by state-run Anadolu news agency as saying.
Meanwhile, Ekşi said flights would be closed in both airports for an 18-hour period as the airline moved 120 empty aircrafts to the new airport.
Ekşi added that flights would be decreased by 50 percent to avoid potential operational problems during the transferal-of-operations period.
“We will start our operations in the new airport with 10-percent capacity in the first two hours and end the day with 50 percent. On the second day, we plan to reach 75 percent and then full capacity on the third day,” he said.
The project is designed to accommodate growing traffic in a major hub.
The airport will be large enough for 114 planes to dock at the same time, Transport Minister Arslan previously said, adding that it would employ 225,000 people when fully operational.
He also said around $10.2 billion had been invested in the project and that it would generate around $22.2 billion in 25 years before value added tax.
Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport is among Europe’s five busiest airports, recovering in 2017 from a downturn in passenger traffic the previous year. It will be closed once the new airport opens.
Istanbul is a major hub for transit flights, attracting lucrative transfer traffic this year from major airports in the Gulf as Turkey recovers from security worries, according to travel data analysis company Forward Keys.