Istanbul New Airport has celebrated its first anniversary, the official opening by the Turkish president, and a year of success despite delayed timing. Initially set for a full transfer of operations in October 2018, the swap over of international flights from Istanbul Ataturk did not happen until April 2019.
The setback turned out to be just a glitch, as workers and managers ensured smooth operations in what is Turkey’s largest airport and almost ambitious megaproject to date. Even though the new airport has replaced the old Ataturk air travel hub, construction is ongoing and will only finish in 2023, a year coinciding with the Turkish Republic’s 100th anniversary.
In an announcement of their first anniversary, managers of IGA, the company who won the construction and operation tender pointed out, the contribution of the first phase towards Turkey’s construction, retail, tourism, and aviation industries. They also emphasised its global importance as seen in their slogan “Turkey’s Gateway to the World.”
When operational, flights will go to 130 destinations in 60 countries. But success already shows in air passenger traffic stats that revealed since April 2019, 41 million passengers have passed through terminals to get on flights operated by 70 airlines. The air traffic control tower also oversaw the landing and take-off on runways of over 255,000 flights, while behind-the-scenes operations dealt with 28 million suitcases and 855,000 tons of cargo.
Alongside impressive flight stats, another much-publicised aspect was duty-free shopping and the world’s largest shopping court with international and Turkish brand names set to occupy spaces. To date, there is 90% occupancy across 54,000 square meters of space.
Well-known names to set up home in the DFS areas including Prada, Dior, and Louis Vuitton. Sitting nearby, the themed YOTEL terminal airport achieved 100% occupancy rate by hosting 55,000 overnight guests.
As well as getting passengers to their chosen destination, IGA is keen to prove their hospitality excellence by offering a premium, upgraded service through the IGA Pass Package, of which to date over 5000 people have purchased. Benefits include a meet and greet service, fast-tracking, gate buggy transfers, meeting rooms, and lounge amenities for international departures. Valet parking and car maintenance services are also available. Anyone interested in purchasing this can find more details at igapass.com.
Also, see the official app on their main website (istairport.com.) Functions within include flight information and tracking, home to the gate which estimates how long it will take you to get from your house to departures, a terminal map, lounges, local events happening nearby, details about airport shuttles, public transport, taxis, and free wi-fi service.
If you are flying through Istanbul new airport with Turkish airlines and have a layover time of between 6 to 24 hours, you can get a free tour of the city centre. The “Touristanbul” service is available from the hotel desk in the international arrivals halls. Sites to see include Yedikule Fortress, Taksim Square, the old walls of Constantine, Galata Tower and Bridge, free time at Dolmabahce Palace, and the Valens Aqueduct.
For first time visitors to Istanbul city, our area guide gives a brief introduction into prominent sites, neighbourhoods and leisure and shopping amenities. Also follow us on Facebook or sign up to our newsletter to stay updated with Turkey’s tourism, business and property news.