Ankara, Turkey, Oct 29
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is opening what he claims will eventually become the world’s largest airport on the 95th anniversary of Turkey’s establishment as a republic.
Tens of thousands of workers have been scrambling to finish the airport to meet Mr. Erdogan’s 29 October deadline.
However, its launch on Monday is symbolic with only limited flights beginning days later and a full move expected at the end of the year.
The project has been dogged by concerns about labor rights, environmental issues and Turkey’s weakening economy with protests held in September over poor working conditions and dozens of construction deaths.
Istanbul New Airport, on the shores of the Black Sea, will serve 90 million passengers annually in its first phase.
At its completion in ten years, it will occupy nearly 19,000 acres and serve up to 200 million travelers a year with six runways. That’s almost double the traffic at the world’s biggest airport currently, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson.
The first foreign flight of the airport will take place on November 1 in the Republic of Cyprus, and on November 8, a flight will be made to North Azerbaijan. At the end of the year, after completing the necessary measures, there will be 2,000 aircraft daily landing and flight capacity at the airport.