Istanbul Airport to start full passenger operations in March as it bids to be “the biggest and the best”


The initial capacity of 90 million passengers will be expanded to 200 million once all phases are completed, positioning Istanbul Airport as the biggest airport in the world.

İGA Airport Operations has announced that the new Istanbul Airport will become fully operational on 3 March 2019. As previously reported, the airport’s first phase opened on 29 October 2018 with an official ceremony.

“We are all ready for the occasion,” stated Kadri Samsunlu, Chief Executive Officer of İGA Airport Operations.

The new mega-hub – which will be commemorated with The New Airport Show Istanbul, co-located with the Future Travel Experience EMEA and Ancillary shows – will replace the current Istanbul Atatürk Airport, which will be closed for scheduled passenger flights.

“As a major hub at the intersection of Asia, Europe and the Middle East, we will bring the world closer together,” Samsunlu pointed out. “With an initial capacity to serve 90 million people, which will be expanded to 200 million once all phases are completed, Istanbul Airport will be the biggest airport in the world.”

Duty free area – “The soul of Istanbul Airport”

Over 1,000 domestic and international luxury brands are present at the airport, offering customers “an unforgettable and extraordinary shopping experience”.

Earlier this month, the airport also unveiled the second phase of its duty free zone with five new shops, operated by Unifree Dutyfree İşletmeciliği A.Ş. and its partner Gebr. Heinemann. The shopping zone of 53,000 sqm will be the largest in the world. “The Duty Free zone is the soul of Istanbul Airport,” commented Samsunlu.

Over 1,000 domestic and international luxury brands will be present at the airport, offering customers “an unforgettable and extraordinary shopping experience”. Moreover, the airport will offer a pre-order system so that passengers can buy online and collect items at the airport. An interactive area will also be available through digital applications, allowing passengers to try on makeup and cosmetic products both physically and through augmented reality technology.

As the airport is becoming fully operational, national flag carrier Turkish Airlines is adding more routes to the airport’s network. Bilal Ekşi, General Manager of Turkish Airlines, took to Twitter to announce new international and domestic destinations. Passengers can now travel to Moscow, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Ashgabat, Tbilisi, Cyprus, Kuwait and Baku. The new domestic routes include Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Adana, Trabzon, Gaziantep, Diyarbakır, Kayseri and Hatay. As a result, Istanbul Airport now has a total of 18 domestic and international connections.