Lonely Planet Writer

Istanbul’s huge new airport opens in October and is expected to become the world’s busiest airport

The first phase of Istanbul’s new airport is due to open in October 2018, and once it is complete, it is expected to become the world’s busiest airport.

Istanbul’s huge new airport is scheduled to open in October. Image: IGA

Istanbul New Airport will be constructed over an area of 76.5 million square meters to the north of İstanbul, 35km away from the city centre. The construction will be carried out in four phases, and the first is scheduled to open on 29 October, Turkey’s Republic Day. It will comprise of three runways and a terminal with a capacity for 90 million passengers.

The first phase of Istanbul New Airport is scheduled to open on October 29, Turkey’s Republic Day. Image: IGA

Once complete, the new airport will have six runways and will host flights going to more than 300 destinations. It will have an annual passenger capacity of up to 200 million people, making it the world’s busiest airport.

Its air traffic control tower is inspired by the tulip, which has been the symbol of İstanbul for many centuries and is an important cultural reference in Turkish-Islamic history. There will be a large duty-free shopping area, and a food and beverage area that IGA, which was founded in 2013 to construct and operate the airport for 25 years, says is bigger than that found in more airports.

Istanbul New Airport’s air traffic control tower is inspired by the tulip. Image: IGA

The architectural style of the airport’s terminals will reflect the artistic richness of İstanbul’s mosques, baths, domes and many other historic structures. It is being built at a cost of almost $12bn (€10.37bn) and will also feature a 451-room hotel.

The architectural style of İstanbul New Airport’s terminals will reflect the city’s artistic richness. Image: IGA

Atatürk International Airport is the city’s current airport, but it is ageing and overloaded. It will eventually be converted into a public park, and all flights will ultimately be transferred over to the new airport.

Istanbul New Airport will have six runways. Image: IGA

For further information on Istanbul’s new airport, see IGA’s website here.