The new face of North Cyprus: Ercan Airport
ÖMER BİLGEWe are going through a period when holiday-goers not only seek sea, sand, sun together with history and nature, but also prioritize peace and safety. North Cyprus, which stands as an island of tranquility at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, is not an attraction center only for tourists, but also for those who want to reside permanently.
If you want to be a step ahead in tourism, you have to offer good quality service and adequate bed capacity. But the indispensable condition is the best options in transportation. The only window to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the facility that says “Welcome” to those visiting the island is the Ercan Airport. A new one is being built with an aim of becoming a world brand.
Ercan Airport was leased four years ago for 25 years to Taşyapı. The construction of the new airport and the runways are rapidly ongoing. It would not be an exaggeration if we say that the owner of Taşyapı, Emrullah Turanlı, has woven to make the new Ercan the face of the island. On our trip to Northern Cyprus as the daily Hürriyet family of writers, in the “Explore Northern Cyprus” expedition, we were able to visit the site of the new Ercan project.
As soon as Turanlı took over the management of Ercan with T&T, the image of the airport changed rapidly. From hygiene to the parking lot, all the weaknesses were eliminated; a modern and chic duty-free parlor was made, the health need of travelers was prioritized.
The current Ercan Airport is 20,000 square meters; the new Ercan will be almost 10 times bigger, 185,000 square meters. The airport’s capacity last year was 4 million travelers; with the new project they will be able to serve 10 million passengers.
Its architecture is nature-friendly; it has two runways suitable for all types and size of aircraft; it will have an 18-plane parking space, eight boarding bridges, it will be a high-tech airport. With 60 check-in counters, passengers will be free from suffering long queues.
Building facilities alone is not enough of course. Service and the human factor are also important. Turanlı, working with a professional team, is pledging that the new Ercan will be his first airport but it will not be his last. He has rolled up his sleeves to build other airports in different spots of the world. The new Ercan will be, in a way, the project that will make Turanlı prove himself.
Northern Cyprus has a 20,000 bed capacity. Turanlı is looking for hotel projects. He has set his heart to increase the bed capacity of Northern Cyprus from 20,000 to 100,000.
At one end of his mind, he is thinking of achieving international flights that are now blocked because of the Cyprus issue. Only for this target, would he buy an airline company belonging to an EU country and start direct flights to Nicosia? Well, he might…
He is always thinking out of the box. He has a warm personality; he is a people’s person, with a determined character, which is a distinctive character of the people from the Black Sea.
Turanlı and his daughter Ece Turanlı took us, the Hürriyet and TÜRSAB group, to everywhere in Northern Cyprus, which he calls “my new country” and made us experience a festival of history and nature.
There are 62 flights to and from Northern Cyprus every week. It is also possible to reach Northern Cyprus through the sea.
In 2016, Turkish citizens visiting the island have increased by 9 percent, reaching 1,218,232. Foreign nationals visiting the island dropped 3.7 percent in 2016 because of negative developments in the region and remained at 358,841.
Mainland Turks visiting the island are in search of a tranquil holiday, while the drop in the number of foreigners is because they don’t know this feature of the island, being affected by regional events. Northern Cyprus should be re-explored, especially by Turkish people.