Soft Opening for the new Istanbul Airport

Turkey’s President Erdoğan led the ceremony to mark the official opening of the new Istanbul Airport (IATA: ISL) on October 29. The new facility has yet to be named but it will ultimately replace the city’s Atatϋrk Airport (IST) as Istanbul’s primary international gateway. Building work is still under way and only a handful of flights are being operated until the proposed relocation of all Turkish Airlines services at the end of December.

The inaugural destination was the Turkish capital, Ankara, on October 31, with services to the resort towns of Antalya Izmir due to start at the beginning of November. The first international flight was set to fly to Northern Cyprus on November 1, followed by a service to Azerbaijan a week later. All of these will be operated by the nation’s flag carrier, THY.

At a preview event held last week it was announced that the full transfer of flights from Atatϋrk Airport will take place at the end of the year, at which point the existing airport will be closed to commercial services.

The new airport is being built in phases. This first stage of development gives it a theoretical passenger capacity of 90 million per year, but this is set to rise to 200 million when the final phase is completed in 2023.

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