The new international airport in Istanbul, 22 miles north of the city center, one of President Recep Tayip Erdogan's signature mega projects, will open as scheduled on October 29, Turkey’s Republic Day! At the same time, Mr. Erdogan announced that Ataturk Airport, due to be replaced by the new facility, would not be closed immediately for redevelopment."Ataturk Airport is not going to halt activity all at once. There will be a transition period," he said.
The Turkish government has claimed the new airport, on the European side of Istanbul, will be "the biggest in the world". Initially, it will handle up to 90 million passengers a year, rising to 150 million by 2023. Some 35,000 people are employed on the project, including 3,000 engineers and administrative staff. Once completed, the 29.5 square-mile Istanbul New Airport with six runways, will be larger than the island of Manhattan. It is also expected to become the world’s busiest airport with up to 200 million passengers passing through per year. While the project will be completed in four phases, the first phase will open with three runways and a terminal that can accommodate up to 90 million passengers annually, according to IGA, the company that is responsible for operating the airport for the next 25 years. Once the new airport is completely opened, all flights will be transferred over to it and Atatürk Airport will eventually be converted into a public park that will be called the “People’s Garden,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayip Erdoğan told the Hurriyet Daily News.
The new airport’s terminal is being built to reflect the style of Istanbul’s domed mosques and baths, while the air traffic control tower’s shape is inspired by a tulip, one of the traditional symbols of Istanbul.
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