Istanbul’s 3rd airport to welcome 1st plane by Feb 2018, official opening to be on Republic Day

Istanbul’s 3rd airport to welcome 1st plane by Feb 2018, official opening to be on Republic Day

Istanbul’s 3rd airport to welcome 1st plane by Feb 2018, official opening to be on Republic Day

Istanbul’s third airport will welcome its first plane before February of next year, according to Ahmet Arslan, Turkey’s transport, maritime and communications minister.

“We will land the first plane at Istanbul’s third airport before February 2018,” said Arslan, speaking at the Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk in Ankara on Oct. 6.

The first phase of the official opening of the new under-construction airport in Istanbul will be on Oct. 29 of next year, he said. Oct. 29 is the day Turkey marks Republic Day, commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

Around 68 percent of the airport construction has been completed, Arslan added. “Workers are working day and night to finish the project on time,” he said.

When it is completed next year, the new airport will assume most of the passenger traffic from Atatürk International Airport, hosting 250 airlines flying to more than 350 destinations, making it one of the world’s largest transport hubs.

When the first phase is completed in 2018, it will have the world’s largest terminal under one roof, with a gross floor area of nearly 11 million square feet and the ability to serve 90 million passengers a year.

After the completion of all phases, the airport is expected to be the one of busiest ones in the world, with flights to over 350 destinations and, eventually, an annual capacity of 200 million passengers.

Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport is the busiest airport in Turkey, with 41.6 million passengers in the first 8 months of 2017, according to the state airports authority. It was followed by Sabiha Gökçen Airport with 20.5 million passengers, Istanbul’s main air hub on the Asian side

Air marshals

Arslan also spoke on an omnibus bill containing air security measures, including the use of air marshals and sharing passenger information with the destination countries.

“Armed security forces will be deployed on board airplanes when necessary,” Arslan said.

He added that sharing passengers’ information with destination countries is obligatory and the bill will provide a legal basis for it.

Satellite production

On the bidding process to make the Turksat 5A and Turksat 5B communications satellites, Arslan announced that Airbus made the best bid, financially and in terms of domestic contribution.

He said three top international firms had bid for the job: the French-U.K. partnership Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS), Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELKO) and the Canadian-U.S. partnership MDA/Space System Loral (MDA/SSL).

“We invited Airbus to negotiate on prices. Our aim is to finalize negotiations and sign an agreement this month, and right after to start production,” Arslan said.

He added that Turkey aims to launch the Turksat 5A by 2020 and the Turksat 5B by 2021.