Istanbul Airport, which is set to become the world's largest airport and an example to the world in a number of fields from its size to its infrastructure, security systems, and architecture, was formally opened to air traffic on October 29, 2018, the 95th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, during a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The new airport will assume most of the passenger traffic from Atatürk International Airport and will become one of the world’s largest transport hubs. Hosting more than 250 airlines ﬂying to more than 350 destinations, the new airport will serve up to 3,500 takeoffs and landings per day and the initial phase has an annual capacity of 90 million passengers. This can be raised to 150 million once all phases have been completed, and it has the potential to ultimately reach 200 million. Built on an area of 76.5 million square meters and opened with 3 runways in the initial phase, Istanbul Airport is a mega project that will have a total of 6 runways, 2 million square meters of indoor space, 6.5 million square meters of tarmac, rail transportation between the terminals, cargo and general aviation terminals, and indoor and outdoor parking lots.
Istanbul Airport will generate its own energy and will create 120,000 jobs. The project represents a total economic size of EUR 32.4 billion excluding taxes. This figure constitutes an investment cost of EUR 10.2 billion and EUR 22.2 billion for rental costs to be paid to the government.
Built under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, construction and operation of the new airport has been carried out by the Limak-Kolin-Cengiz -Mapa-Kalyon consortium under the name of Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) company, and other stages of the airport will be completed by 2028.
With Istanbul Airport coming into service, Turkey has become the most important transit hub between the north-south and east-west axes. The airport connects 60 countries and economies of USD 20 trillion to one another.