No reassessment of Istanbul’s third airport construction budget, says Davutoğlu

No reassessment of Istanbul’s third airport construction budget, says Davutoğlu

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
No reassessment of Istanbul’s third airport construction budget, says Davutoğlu

AA Photo

The depreciation of the Turkish Lira against the greenback will not hamper Istanbul’s planned third airport, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said as he inspected the construction site of the giant, controversial project on Feb. 12.

Asked whether the increase in the U.S. dollar against the lira would increase the cost of the project, Davutoğlu said all plans were already made on a euro basis and thus would not lead to any loss.
“There is no need for a review, as all the plans were made on a euro basis,” said Davutoğlu, adding that the project would cost 32 billion euros in total.

Davutoğlu stated that around 10 billion euros had been invested in the airport project at the construction phase and that it would total 32 billion euros with another 22 billion euros in subsequent phases.

“It is a great indicator of the level which Turkey’s economy, companies and the construction sector has reached that such a project of such a big scale was undertaken by Turkish firms,” he said.

The Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyon Consortium, a joint venture of Turkish companies, won a tender for the third Istanbul airport in May 2013, promising to pay the state 22.1 billion euros, plus taxes, over 25 years starting in 2017.

Davutoğlu said yesterday that the largest part of Istanbul’s third airport area would be reserved as a green zone, where they will plant 5 million trees.

“Some 15 million square meters of the overall 80 million-square-meter area will be allocated for facilities, and the other 65 million square meters will be arranged with trees or landscape designs,” he told the press after he examined the ongoing construction.

He reiterated that the project and the construction works would cause no damage to the environment or decrease the surrounding forested areas, a claim that has been repeatedly disputed by locals and environmentalists, with the airport being built on one of Istanbul’s last major forests, as well as close to its most important water sources.

Set to boast an annual capacity of 150 million passengers, the airport is expected to become one of the biggest in the world and the biggest air transfer hub in Europe.

The prime minister also said they had to be sensitive about the environmental pattern of Istanbul and the soil structure of the area during the progress of the construction works.

“The scale of the project and our sensitivity toward the environmental pattern are the same,” he claimed.

Davutoğlu said the natural topography of the area had been deformed and that ground, which was once used for mining activities, had to first be fortified.

As for the progress of the project, the prime minister said there would be four phases – the first of which is scheduled to be completed in Oct. 29, 2017, once the first two runways and the terminal are built.

“The terminal will be the largest in the world as it will be built on an area of 920,000 square meters,” he said.

At the end of the first phase, the airport is slated to enter service with an initial capacity of 90 million passengers on Oct. 29, the 94th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.

Davutoğlu said the passenger capacity would reach 120 million in the second phase in the summer 2018 when the third runway will be ready for planes.

The airport will reach its ultimate target of a capacity of 150 million passengers at the end of the third phase, he added.

Davutoğlu also said the fourth phase consisted of drainage activities to strengthen the ground for the other facilities of the airport and green areas.

“We assume that more than 150 airlines will use the airport,” he said.

During the project, Davutoğlu said 3,000 pieces of construction equipment would be used and 30,000 people would be employed.

“When the airport starts operating, it will create a total of 120,000 jobs,” he added.