Airports used to be places people only visited for boarding or leaving planes, but with the opportunities in their interiors they have been transforming into travel and living places. All cities with a claim in the areas of tourism and economy equip their airports with utmost comfort and with the services to offer a perfectly systematized and flawless travel experience. Meanwhile, they strive to turn their airports into living spaces where passengers can spend a pleasant time. This is the age of airports that cater to all the needs of passengers from shopping to accommodation, that offer ample living spaces, accelerate all processes with digital technology, and prevent baggage lines or flight delays -all with good management despite busyness.
Let’s focus on Istanbul. Although the veteran Atatürk Airport succeeded in keeping up with and realizing these developments, it was not big enough to perfectly meet all these needs due to increasing number of passengers. The airport’s capacity was challenged by the fast growth of Turkish Airlines in terms of fleet and passenger capacity and the increasing traffic of civil aviation in Istanbul in the last 15 years. Atatürk Airport was enough neither for the aircraft nor the guests of Turkish Airlines, which flies to more countries in the world than any other and carried 75.2 million passengers in 2018. Istanbul was in dire need for a larger, more ambitious airport which can serve as a travel and living center with a bigger capacity and better equipped in terms of technology and comfort.
Serving as a wonderful bridge at the center of three continents, Istanbul offers unique connection opportunities to transit passengers. It also earns a share in tourism with its historic, natural, cultural, and artistic richness, and in business travel with its reputation in economy and international trade. To cater to the city’s needs, a new airport project was designed to serve 200 million passengers. This giant investment’s first phase, which has a capacity of 90 million passengers, was completed in a record-breaking period of 42 months.
The giant terminal building (spanning 1.4 million square meters and the world’s largest under one roof, is the highlight of the airport, whose first phase was opened by the Republic of Turkey President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on October 29, 2018 Republic Day with a great ceremony. It deserves attention not only for the fact that it keeps up with the times with new generation technologies but also for its significant, pioneering novelties in the industry. Reflecting Istanbul’s cultural heritage in its architecture, the terminal building offers a lot of space under its giant, domed roof.
The key is new technology, activated by new generation tools that accelerate everything. Istanbul Airport offers a smart flight experience that can be digitally managed by passengers from ticketing to baggage claim thanks to a smart navigation system, the Internet of Things, and various mobile applications. Turkish Airlines began operating flights from here in October 2018, and, since then, its guests have been exploring this vast world.
The baggage system, which will have a capacity to carry 30,000 pieces of per hour in a total of 42 kilometers once all phases are complete, began turning when the national flag carrier airline started operating flights here. At the airport, which will feature 13 check-in islands with more than 500 check-in counters to help manage the busyness in a fast and seamless way, passengers began to use boarding bridges that have been opened out of the total 143.
Turkish Airlines opened its CIP Lounge in the terminal building. The shops in the world’s largest Duty-Free Area, spanning 55,000 square meters, have begun to open along with the social living spaces with the diversity and capacity to meet every need of the passengers before and after their flight, and the food courts that cover 32,000 square meters, becoming livelier every day.
Istanbul Airport enables saving water up to 40% by using rain, recycled water, and grey water. In addition, according to ASHRAE standards, it has an energy efficiency of 21% and on track to have a silver certification in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the Green Building Certification. In short, the airport began serving you a comfortable and ample space equipped with varies features that you will explore during your journeys.
As Istanbul Airport moves towards the finale at full speed, Turkish Airlines also increases the momentum of its operations at the airport. Having started flights from its new home to five cities, the national flag carrier acted fast to initiate its service and operational units. Along with the opening of its CIP Lounge in December, the airline also opened a total of five fundamental facilities such as Line Maintenance Hangar and Fast Cargo Delivery Base. Ceaselessly expanding its flight network, Turkish Airlines will start flying to Konya, Malatya, Erzurum, and Samsun this month. The number of destinations it flies from Istanbul Airport will reach to a total of 23 cities (10 international and 13 domestic). Therefore, the number of passengers which was over 273,000 in late February, will increase even more.
Initiated by President H.E. Erdoğan on June 7, 2014, the first phase of the construction was completed in a short period of 42 months. It was opened on October 29, 2018, during which Binali Yıldırım made the first speech, "We're honored to celebrate the 95th anniversary of our republic with such a magnificent project." It's not an impossible task for Turkish Airlines to reach a wider flight network with more destinations from its new home with a wider flight network, unrivaled service quality, and access to 66 countries within a five-hour flight.