Efforts for Istanbul’s third airport heat up

Efforts for Istanbul’s third airport heat up

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Efforts for Istanbul’s third airport heat up

Atatürk International Airport, the largest in the country, is hardly meeting the increasing demand.

The Transport Ministry will announce the tender date for a third airport in Istanbul next month, Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım has said.

The government aims to receive bids in December for the facility, which is estimated to cost 10 billion Turkish Liras, he told Anatolia news agency.

“We cannot tell exactly what will be in the bids, but this is our estimate,” he said

Some foreign investors, including those from Japan, France, China and Germany, have already shown interest in the airport, which will be constructed in three phases.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the airport would be built on a plot in the north of the European side of Istanbul, without elaborating.

The project will follow the build-operate-transfer model, which is also known as the “Turkish model,” according to the minister.

This model has attracted $2 billion for airport construction across the country, Yıldırım also said.
The capacity produced by these private sector projects has reached 90.5 million passengers per year, while the government has spent nothing on these new airports, he added.

Regional airports, meaning facilities that serve more than one province, are crucial for civil aviation, the minister said.

Project finishes before deadline

Ordu Giresun Airport in the north, Çukurova Airport in the south and Zafer Airport in the inner-Aegean region are three such projects.

Zafer will be the first completed on Oct. 29, 2012, which is about 1.5 years earlier than the original deadline, due to the great efforts of the contractor, Yıldırım said. The date marks the anniversary of foundation of the modern Turkish republic.

A third airport in Istanbul, the largest city in the country, has long been on the agenda as Atatürk Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen on the Asian side are struggling to meet the rising demand with mainly Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier, boosting its flights and the city attracting more visitors.