Istanbul Airport was completed in 3,5 years at a cost of $6.72 billion. Its initial purpose was to alleviate air traffic and meet the growing demand for international and domestic flights in Istanbul.
The facility was officially opened in October 2019 but its first annual anniversary was recently celebrated as it became fully operational on April 6, 2019. During its first year, it accommodated 64 million travelers. In comparison, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport worldwide, received 111 million passengers in 2019.
The announcement for the new project has not been made official yet as the airport is currently waiting for permission from Turkey’s Directorate of Civil Aviation. Currently, the airport has 2 parallel and 2 stand-by runways. The new addition will boost the total aviation movements from 80 to 120 per hour. “We have filed an application with the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, declaring that our third independent runway will be ready for flight operations by June 18, 2020. We are profoundly proud to get this phase completed in timely manner, just as has been the case for all stages of construction,” Kadri Samsunlu, CEO and general manager of İGA Airport Operation Inc, the constructor and operator of Istanbul Airport, stated.
The purpose of the new runway is to facilitate air traffic flow. In particular, it will half the time of movement on the ground for domestic flights and will increase the total capacity of the airport. According to computer simulations conducted, the addition of the gateway will reduce the average landing time and the average take-off time from 15 to 11 minutes and from 22 to 15 minutes, respectively.
When completed, Istanbul Airport will become the second in Europe with three separate parallel runaways after the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The project will be accomplished at a cost of $10.2 billion.
Nevertheless, those estimates will be valid, given that the conditions will return to normality in the near future. The COVID-19 spread has highly affected the aviation industry due to travel restrictions, flight cancellations and the reduction of travelers. However, according to İGA, the current period is an opportunity to improve the infrastructure of the airport. “This has been a difficult year for the aviation industry, but we see this compulsory break as an opportunity to maximize the passengers’ travel experience at Istanbul Airport. We expect the stagnation we have been experiencing for the last couple of months to resolve very soon. Our new runway will be immensely helpful in that sense," Samsunlu, said.