Turkey’s transport minister has unveiled plans to create the world’s largest airport. Binalis Yilidrim has outlined proposals to build a brand new airport on a site measuring 828 million square feet. The land was previously used for coal mining. Once up and running and fully operational, the airport will have the capacity to serve 150 million passengers per year. This will officially make it the world’s busiest airport.
Plans for the world’s largest airport
Previously, Istanbul had two airports. The main airport, Istanbul Ataturk, serves more than 45 million passengers per year, but visitor numbers are growing, and there’s no space available to expand the existing site. The other airport, Sabiga Gokcen, is considerably smaller with limited potential for significant growth. With transport ministers keen to invest in infrastructure to put Turkey firmly on the map as a tourist destination and improve links with other countries, proposals to build a new airport have been revealed. The new airport, which will be established in four phases, is set to open to passengers in January 2019. Initially, the airport will serve 90 million passengers per year, but once building on the vast site is complete, this figure will rise to 150-200 million passengers annually.
The site acquired for the new airport is a disused coal mine, which is located on the European side of Istanbul. Once fully operational, the airport will take Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport’s mantle as the world’s busiest airport. This airport serves 90 million passengers every year.
The benefits of a new airport for UK travellers and the impact on UK airports
Turkey is a hugely popular destination for UK tourists, especially those seeking sun, sea, and sand in the summer holidays and visitors looking for an exciting city break location in Istanbul. The opening of a brand new airport will undoubtedly bring good news for UK travellers hoping to explore Turkey. Flights to Turkey are likely to become more frequent, especially during the high season, and this could impact prices for British travellers. Increased competition and more flights may lead to reductions and more discounted tickets in the future. It may also be possible for UK tourists to travel to a larger number of destinations within Turkey more easily and to combine trips to Turkey with other countries. Multi-destination trips are growing in popularity, and Turkey could become a popular stop-off once it is established as a major transport hub.
In terms of the impact on other airports across the world, the new airport may encourage ministers in other countries to assess potential proposals for expansion. With Turkey’s new airport capable of serving around 150 million passengers per year, other nations may be keen to increase capacity at their largest airports. In the UK, the desire to increase capacity at Heathrow is well-documented, and the debate surrounding whether to expand or build a new airport rumbles on. There are also plans to try and increase passenger numbers in Beijing, China. A new airport may increase competition, and UK airlines may open up new routes to Turkey from different parts of the UK and increase the frequency of flights, which will benefit passengers. Ministers in Turkey are also keen to create a transfer centre, which might open up new routes that could appeal to UK travellers looking to fly to Turkey and then explore further afield.
The implications for the Turkish economy and tourism industry
The Turkish Government put forward plans to establish the world’s largest airport with a view to turning Istanbul into a primary transport hub, which links Europe to the East. The new airport will increase visitor numbers, which will have a significant impact on the economy and the tourism sector. Prior to the opening of the airport, Istanbul’s capacity was restricted by limited space at Ataturk Airport. Now, Turkey can serve more than three times the number of passengers. More flights will operate, and more people will travel to or pass through Istanbul, which will benefit the economy of the city and the wider region. Turkey’s geographical location also makes it a useful place to stop when travelling from East to West.
Turkey has long been a popular family holiday destination for UK tourists, and recently, Istanbul has emerged as a trendy city break location. The opening of a brand new airport is likely to make it easier for UK tourists to travel to Turkey from different regions of Great Britain, and Turkey is also likely to benefit economically in the years to come. If you enjoy holidaying in Turkey, or you’re hoping to visit in the coming months or years, it’s an exciting time to travel.