Istanbul Plans World’s Largest Airport

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Binali Yildrim

Turkey’s minister for transport, maritime affairs and communication Binali Yildrim has confirmed that Istanbul is planning a third airport which could be the largest in the world.

The tender process will begin with advertisements in the national press, and the winning bidder will be announced on May 3 for a 25-year operating period. The first phase of the project is scheduled to be up and running and serving passengers within 42 months. The project is set to create a total of 120,000 jobs, according to Yildrim and will cost more than €7 billion, according to Reuters.

Yildrim said that the new airport will be the largest in the world with a targeted total capacity of 150 million served by up to six runways, and is the “most suitable location between Europe and Asia geographically.”

The airport is planned to be built in the northern outskirts of Istanbul on the European side of the city, near the Black Sea. Istanbul currently has two airports, Sabiha Gokcen, which is located on the Asian side of the capital, currently serving around fifteen million passengers a year and Ataturk, which is located on the south side of the city, and which serves around forty-five million.

Istanbul is an official candidate for the 2020 Olympic Games and is implementing an “Integrated Urban Transport Master Plan” in preparation for a successful bid. However, the official Istanbul 2020 website states that “the current combined capacity of Istanbul’s two airports significantly exceeds the requirements for the Games.”