Did you know Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, has the distinction of being the Gateway between Europe and Asia? So basically, when you come to Istanbul, you can actually use the term ‘East meets West’ literally! This has allowed Istanbul to be a melting pot of cultures. You can get lost in many of its markets or even awe yourself looking at all the minarets of mosques and the steeples of churches and other monuments anywhere you turn.
Now, if you’re excited to come here, the first thing you would check for is the air ticket to Istanbul. Well, for most of you who haven’t seen the heading yet,
SURPRISE! I am not going to talk about Istanbul ‘the Gateway between Asia and Europe’ but the new Istanbul airport, the Gateway to the gateway between Asia and Europe (you see what I did there!)
Istanbul’s old airport, the Ataturk airport, was one of Europe’s busiest airports. It was getting crowded with lack of space for it to expand despite the demand. It reached a stage where they could not even add an additional runway, worsening the air traffic congestion. The airport didn’t have enough parking spaces even for the flights of the national carrier, Turkish Airlines.
Did you know? The Ataturk airport was handling 28 million passengers in 2015 when the maximum (allowed) terminal capacity was 25 million.
This was when Turkey decided ‘enough was enough’ and started planning for a new airport to handle this expanding traffic. They even planned ahead by completing it in 4 stages, keeping the final completion date for 2027. When completed, it is going to have 4 terminals and 8 runways. It’s going to be the world’s busiest airport upon completion.
How does it look?
Ever since the new Istanbul Airport started its operations in October last year, it has been making everyone awestruck, be it the travellers and even the ones seeing it in pictures. You might have to include the airport as part of your itinerary with its high ceilings and breathtaking design.
It is so humongous that it is actually going to dwarf all the big airports around the world, even Beijing’s Capital airport.
What does it have?
Besides the normal facilities of an airport, like dutyfree, parking, etc. the new Istanbul Airport has its own tailor, shoeshine, hair salon, and even barber services. They even have a dry cleaning store in the greeter’s hall at the arrivals level. They also have prayer rooms for all religions.
Did you know? Istanbul Airport will have a ‘Barrier-Free’ certificate. So passengers with disabilities will get special assistance.
Are you one of those who hate waiting in long Q’s to check-in, immigration, security check, etc. well, you’re in luck, the Istanbul Airport has all sorts of self-serve services for passengers. You can use the ‘Self Check-in’ kiosks to check in, ‘Self-Service Bag Drop System’ to drop your bags, ‘Automatic Passport Control System’ for immigration, and even the ‘Automatic Boarding Gate’systems for boarding.
For people like me who are bound to get lost, let’s face it, it is a mammoth place. You are bound to get lost. Don’t Worry! There is an app that will guide you right from your home to the flight and back. These apps will also notify you about your flight, even the promotions happening at the terminal’s duty-free.
- May 01, 2013: Istanbul Airport’s journey started with the passing of the tender for an amount of nearly €25
- June 07, 2013: The Foundation stone for the airport was laid.
- January 21, 2015: The world’s biggest duty-free deal for a term of 25 years was signed between IGA and Unifree Duty-Free
- December 08, 2017: Baggage system of length 42km was completed.
- February 28, 2018: The first runway of 3750 meters length and 60 meters width was lit up.
- June 21, 2018: First plane landed with Turkey’s president Mr Erdogan being the first passenger.
- October 31, 2018: First commercial flight started flying from Istanbul to Ankara.
- April 05, 2019: All major airlines switched to the new Istanbul airport from the old Ataturk airport.
- The year 2027: Expected completion of all the 8 runways and 4 terminals.
- Total Runways: 8 runways and 16 taxiways (when completed in 2027)
- Total Annual Passenger Capacity: 150 million passengers.
- Total Indoor Area:5 million square meters (approx. 70 million sq.ft.)
- Flight Parking Capacity: 500 aircrafts
- Outdoor Parking Capacity: 70,000 cars.