The full opening of Istanbul’s new airport, Istanbul Airport, has been delayed for the third time. Even though the inauguration of the mega-airport took place at the end of October of 2018, the full opening of the airport, including moving all operations from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport to Istanbul Airport, has not occurred.
Originally, the airport was supposed to be fully operational by the end of October of 2018. Nonetheless, this date was pushed back to January 1st of 2019. Simple Flying reported last December that Istanbul Airport was “not yet ready to receive all the flights from the old airport.” At this time, the opening date was pushed back once again, this time to March 3rd.
Now we have knowed that the full opening has been delayed one more time. Reportedly, all operations will finally move from Ataturk Airport to Istanbul Airport beginning on April 5, 2019.
What do we know about the transfer?
The transfer of operations is expected to start at 3:00 am on April 5 and conclude on April 7 at 12:00 am. During the move, both airports will operate with a reduced capacity. As a result, only 70 flights per hour will be able to take off and land. In contrast, the normal capacity is 80 flights per hour. Therefore, we are likely to see delays and cancellations during the transition period.
The new Istanbul Airport
Istanbul Airport features the world’s largest terminal under one roof. Initially, the airport will be able to handle 90 million passengers annually. Nonetheless, once all planned expansions have been completed, its annual passenger capacity will be as much as 200 million. In comparison, Dubai International Airport has an annual capacity of 90 million passengers.
In addition to the 90 million passengers, Istanbul Airport will have the capacity to handle 2.5 million tons of cargo from the get-go. This annual capacity, however, will be as much as 5.5 million tons once the expansions have been completed.
What will happen to Ataturk Airport once Istanbul Airport is fully operational?
According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, Ataturk Airport will remain open; however, it will not be used for commercial passenger flights any longer. Nevertheless, it will still be available for general aviation, business flights, air taxi, cargo, and government flights.