Not even the recent death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul could eclipse preparations this week for Monday’s unveiling of Turkey’s new airport‚ one of the world’s biggest.
Istanbul New Airport — its temporary name — is expected to become a familiar place for South Africans either taking advantage of the rand’s strength against the lira or connecting to other destinations.
Turkish Airlines‚ which operates daily flights to Istanbul from Johannesburg and Cape Town and four flights a week from Durban‚ is the principal tenant and will take up to 70% of the airport’s capacity.
The company’s Cape Town general manager‚ Kenan Ince‚ said: “Istanbul offers time savings when compared to most rival hubs for SA travellers connecting westwards to Europe‚ the Americas or North Africa.
“It is one of few popular destinations outside of Africa where an SA passport offers efficiency and value [free visas] compared to some other ‘first world’ passports.
“Istanbul is a competitive advantage for Turkish Airlines‚ as for South Africans it is considered a desirable place for a stopover‚ business connection hub‚ or as a holiday destination‚ especially when compared to rival hubs like Dubai‚ Abu Dhabi‚ Qatar and Addis Ababa.”