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Istanbul's New Gigantic Airport Will Now Open April 5

Feb. 28, 2019
2 min read
Istanbul's New Gigantic Airport Will Now Open April 5
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After a series of date changes, soft openings and delays, Istanbul's enormous new airport (ISL) says it will be finally ready to launch into full, operating capacity on April 5, 2019.

The 1.47 million-square-meter airport has experienced quite a few setbacks in its journey to opening day. Originally set to debut on Oct. 29, 2018, the date in which operations from Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) would transition to ISL was nudged forward to Dec. 1, 2018. Yet, as it happens with many other large construction projects, delays persisted— and the opening date was once again moved to March 3, 2019. Since the soft launch in October, ISL has been operating a few domestic and regional routes.

Photo by Emily McNutt/TPG.

April 5 is the most recent (and hopefully, the last) date set for airport transitions. However, Airline Geeks reports that there will be a bit of a two-day awkward stage as operations shift from IST to ISL. Passengers traveling on April 5-7 should be wary of potential delays and cancellations, as only 70 flights will be able to land and depart at the airport per hour —10 less than the usual.

When all is said and done on April 7, IST will only run small charter, government and cargo flights and ISL will take over as Turkey's largest airport.

Photo by Emily McNutt/TPG.

According to ISL airport operator, Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA), the mammoth airport will be able to accommodate around 90 million passengers a year. Flights will be operated mostly by Turkish Airlines, and when completely adapted ISL plans to offer flights to more than 350 destinations worldwide. But they plan on only growing from there.

With the addition of more terminals, the airport will be able to host up to 200 million passengers a year — that's double what Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the current busiest airport in the world, sees annually. Currently, developers are hoping to see this vision come to fruition by 2023.

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