Istanbul plans to build what it said would be the biggest airport in the world, eventually able to handle 150 million passengers per year, in a project seen costing more than 7 billion euros ($9.3 billion).
The six-runway airport will be constructed on 77 million square metres of land near Istanbul, and will have a capacity of 150 million passengers a year – 60 million more than Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, currently the busiest in the world.
The airport will be built in four stages. The first will be completed in 2017, after which it will be operational with an annual capacity of 90 million, according to Turkey’s transport minister, Binali Yildirim.
Istanbul currently has two airports, Sabiha Gokcen, which is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, currently serving around 15 million passengers a year and Ataturk, which is located on the south side of the city, and which serves around 45 million.
Istanbul is an official candidate for the 2020 Olympic Games and is implementing an “Integrated Urban Transport Master Plan” in preparation for a successful bid. The new airport plans would help boost the country’s bid for the 2020 Olympics
The airport will add vital capacity in the region and enhance the role of Istanbul, the hub for flag carrier Turkish Airlines.
Several other big construction projects are planned for Istanbul, including a high-speed train to Ankara, a third bridge over the Bosphorus, and a redesign of Taksim Square.