Big switch to Istanbul Airport to last 45 hours
The transfer of operations from Atatürk Airport to the newly-built mega Istanbul Airport will be completed in 45 hours, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan has said.
The big switch will begin at 3:00 am on April 5 and be completed at 11:59 pm on April 6, according to the minister.
During the move between the two airports, major roads in Istanbul will be closed to traffic to ensure a smooth operation, Turhan added.
“Some highways will be closed for 26 hours while others will be non-operational for nine to 12 hours,” the minister told journalists at a press meeting at Istanbul Airport where he shared the details of the upcoming switch.
Turhan said that there would be a period of 12 hours during which there will be no flights from both Atatürk and Istanbul airports.
“Atatürk Airport will host the last flight at 2:00 am on April 6. From that day on, the venues of Atatürk Airport will serve as an exhibition area, a public park and training area,” the minister said.
He also noted that crisis management centers will be set up at Atatürk Airport, Istanbul Airport and the Metropolitan Municipality’s disaster coordination center, AKOM, where officials will stand ready for 45 hours.
Atatürk Airport have hosted 1,300 airplanes each day and served 68 million passengers, Turhan said, adding that the airport, however, is not able to handle the ever increasing aviation traffic.
Istanbul Airport, whose first phase was opened on Oct. 29 last year, has the potential to welcome 90 million passengers annually, and following the second phase of construction is expected to be completed in 2023, the number will rise to around 200 million.
It will host flights departing to 350 destinations worldwide including countries in Africa, once completed.
After the switch, Atatürk Airport will be closed to domestic and international commercial passenger flights.
Bilal Ekşi, the deputy chairman and CEO of the flag carrier Turkish Airlines, recently said that Istanbul Airport had served more than 400,000 passengers and hosted over 3,200 flights since it opened in October last year.