Istanbul airport has opened its third runway barely a year after receiving its first flight.
Three Turkish Airlines flights marked the occasion by taking off simultaneously, with day-to-day use of the third runway due to start on 18 June.
The airport opened last April, replacing the city’s Ataturk airport, which has now closed. Turkey has ambitions for its new hub to be the world’s largest, with a capacity of 200 million passengers a year. The country wants to use its geographical location, mid-way between Europe and Asia, to its advantage.
Chief executive and general manager of IGA Airport Operation Kadri Samsunlu said: “Istanbul Airport is the largest infrastructure investment ever put into practice in the history of the republic and the most significant economic asset of our nation. Hence, Istanbul airport will for sure be a locomotive force in the future development of our country.”
The third runway will reduce taxi times significantly. Landing times will decrease by an average seven minutes and take off by four minutes.
Officials say domestic taxi times will be halved and capacity for flight movements per hour will increase from 80 to 120 with a daily capacity of more than 2,800 movements – the largest number any European airport can handle.
Istanbul airport will operate five runways, three independent and two standby, but when construction is completed in 2028 it will boast six runways.