Data released by the General Directorate of State Airports Authority reveal Turkish airports handled 140 million passengers from January to August 2018 of which 45.7% of trips were on flights to and from other countries. Including international and domestic flights, this was an increase of 12.7% year-on-year.
The stats are no surprise because Turkey has been showing a steady increase in air traffic for many years now. A report published in April 2018 by Anadolu Agency, the country’s national news publication, said airports in Turkey had served 1.4 billion passengers from 2008 to 2017. This is the same amount as the entire population of China, the world’s most populated country.
Istanbul’s Ataturk airport kept its title as busiest in Turkey by serving 45.6 million passengers within the same period of which roughly 70% were world-wide flights. Over the last decade, they handled 466. 5 million business and leisure travellers.
Ataturk will close at the end of October when operations will move over to the New Istanbul Third Airport that will handle 90 million passengers every year, until it is fully operational in 2023, when this figure will rise to 200,000,000.
The second busiest air travel hub was Sabiha Gokcen in Asian Istanbul that showed an 11% increase year on year in passenger numbers. They served 23,000,000 fares in the first eight months, and 180.1 million over ten years.
Other Turkish airports that showed massive increases include Antalya, major touristic hub of the Mediterranean coast, that over the last decade has received 237.1 million people. The air travel hub serves the resorts of Alanya, Belek, Side, Kemer and Antalya city centre.
Izmir’s Adnan Menderes in Aegean Turkey served 95.3 million passengers over ten years. The region is home to the country’s third largest city as well as smaller coastal resorts like Cesme, Foca and Alacati.
Turkey’s airports served 193.3 million people in 2017, more than double that of 2008 ‘s final figure. Expectations are that this year’s final stats will surpass last year’s results.
The news comes at the same time as both Turkish Airlines and Sun Express, major airlines of Turkey report record stats. The Airport International Council has ranked Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen as Europe’s fastest-growing air travel hubs.