11/4/2009

New airport terminal inaugurated on the Asian side of Istanbul

DnaIndia.com - GMR Group of Bangalore has become the first Indian company to operate an airport abroad with the formal opening of the new terminal building of the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. The terminal, built in a record time of 18 months, was inaugurated by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Praful Patel, India’s Minister of Civil Aviation, and Ong Tee Keat, Malaysia’s Transport Minister, were also present at the ceremony. "With the opening of this airport terminal building, a new era for economic partnerships has begun. This has opened many more avenues for the Indian and Turkish companies to join hands", said India’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, during the inauguration ceremony. The airport currently handles five million passengers annually. The new terminal will become fully operational on November 9 when Turkish Airlines begins its flights to seven new European destinations including London, Moscow, Amsterdam and Berlin. Malaysian Airlines also plans to start operating three times a week to the new airport, said Aris bin Othman, Chairman of Malaysian Airports. Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, named after the world's first woman fighter pilot, is located on the Asian side of Istanbul. The city has two airports; one on the European and the other on the Asian side. The Turkish government is also working on the undersea link via metro to enhance connectivity with the Asian side.