Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the official launch of work on Istanbul’s ground-breaking new airport in June, as construction officially begins at the airport’s site in the northern Arnavutkoy district of the city.
A joint venture of Turkish companies won the tender for Istanbul’s third airport in May 2013, promising to pay the state €22.1billion (plus taxes) over 25 years starting in 2017. The consortium of Turkish companies Cengiz Holding AS, Mapa AS, Limak Holding AS, Kolin Insaat and Kalyon Group has made clear its intentions to make the airport the world’s largest.
The new airport will link to Istanbul’s third new bridge over the Bosphorus, which is also currently under construction.
When Phase One opens in 2018, Istanbul New Airport – or Istanbul Grand Airport as it is also known – will be able to handle 90 million passengers, but over time this number will rise to 150 million. The completion of the airport should increase Istanbul airports' total commercial aircraft traffic to more than one million aircrafts in the next 20 years.
National carrier Turkish Airlines will be the anchor tenant at the new airport, and as such the airline is playing an important role in defining what Istanbul New Airport will offer.
The start of airport construction has been delayed due to several setbacks, including reported funding struggles for the winning consortium.
Preparation for the commencement of construction of the airport has included the draining off of some 70 lakes in northern Istanbul into the Black Sea.