Plans for a third runway at Heathrow pale somewhat when compared to the new Istanbul airport, where operations got under way in earnest this week.
Turkey’s replacement for Ataturk airport will eventually span an area six times that of the west London hub, boasting six runways, four terminals and capacity for an initial 90 million passengers, rising to 200 million by 2027.
Turkish Airlines completed its move in less than a day-and-a-half at the weekend, with 12 hours of its 45-hour window to spare. The airline’s inaugural flight – to capital Ankara – took off on Saturday afternoon (April 6).
While the move ends the carrier’s 86-year association with Ataturk airport, which will eventually close to commercial flights, chairman Ilker Ayci said the new facility would allow the airline to maintain its “aggressive” growth strategy.
Located north of Istanbul on the Black Sea coast, the new airport is designed to further the city’s claim to being one of the world’s “most significant” intercontinental hubs.