Turkey plans world’s biggest airport

Istanbul Third AirportThe Turkish government said it will invest more than 7 billion euros to build the world’s largest airport in Istanbul, able to handle 150 million passengers per year.

The airport is supposed to have six runways and would add vital capacity in the region and enhance the role of Istanbul, the hub for flag carrier Turkish Airlines, the country’s transport minister Binali Yildirim said on January 23 at a press briefing in Istanbul.

The tender will be for a 25-year lease in a four-stage project, with annual capacity of 90 million passengers planned for the first stage, which is planned to be operational in 2017, Yildirim said.

Turkish airport operator and builder TAV and construction company Limak are among the companies that have expressed interest in bidding for the contract.

The new airport’s capacity would by far outnumber the currently busiest airport worldwide, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with 92,3 million passengers handled in 2012, as well as the second and third busiest airports, Beijing International (77 million passengers) and London Heathrow  (69 million passengers).

The new hub for Turkish Airlines would also be a strong regional competition for Dubai International Airport (51 million passengers) and the New Doha International Airport (planned capacity: 60 million passengers by 2020).

Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport handled 37.4 million passengers in 2012.