Yeni Safak – The construction of Istanbul’s third airport, set to be one of the largest in the world in terms of passenger capacity and sheer size, has commenced with a ceremony attended by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The airport, which will be constructed on the northwestern section of Istanbul’s European side, was tendered to a consortium of 5 Turkish companies, Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyon, for EUR 22 billion in May, 2013. To be built at cost of additional EUR 10 billion, the built-operate-transfer project will be the largest ever investment in Turkey’s history. The airport will be connected to the third bridge over the Istanbul Strait via the North Marmara Highway, also under construction.
The 6-runway airport will handle 150 million passengers once fully complete by 2018, climbing to the world’s top in capacity.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, the Turkish Prime Minister said that the massive project also carried a symbolic meaning signifying Turkey’s extending reach. “Its scale, importance and capacity put this project in a unique place in the history of Turkey, making us all very proud to mark this historic day”, he said, likening the project to a victory monument.
A much needed relief for the overly busy Ataturk Airport, the giant air terminal will underscore Istanbul’s growing reputation as a global hub for air travel. Providing access to 35 countries in 3 continents with a 4-hour flight time, Istanbul is the main hub of the Turkish Airlines (THY) and a preferred stopover location for an increasing number of other airline companies.