What has been described as the biggest logistical operation in commercial aviation history was held between April 5 and 6 April 2019 when all airlines relocated from Atatürk to the new Istanbul Airport in Turkey. The country’s flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, already had a small number of aircraft flying from the new airport, but the vast majority were relocated between April 5-6. The airline said the move was accomplished in 33 hours; 12 fewer than it had expected. For Turkish Airlines alone around 1,800 personnel transferred approximately 47,300 tons of equipment.
All airlines and their passenger systems were declared fully operational on the afternoon of April 6. Kadri Samsunlu, CEO and chairman of the executive board at iGA airport operations, expressed his excitement about the new beginning: “This exercise was simply unprecedented: No move between two globally-important hub airports has ever been attempted on anything like this scale before. Yet we achieved it without disruption, especially to the hundreds of thousands of travellers who continued to transit seamlessly between Asia, Africa and Europe over Istanbul Airport, while benefitting from the most advanced passenger experience technologies combined with superb shopping and eating. The smooth move to our new home, follows a record five-year fast-build, and firmly sets Istanbul Airport on the path to growth as one of the world’s most significant air transport centres.”
Istanbul Airport, the world’s new hub, officially opened on 29 October 2018, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic. Once fully completed, including four phases with six runways, the airport is set to serve 200 million passengers annually.