Istanbul New Airport, the €10.2 billion mega hub being built on the outskirts of the city, is now 88.5% complete and on target to open as planned on October 29 this year.
Operator IGA – a joint venture of five Turkish companies comprising Cengiz, Mapa, Limak, Kolin and Kalyon each with a 20% stake – chose the date to coincide with the day that Turkey celebrates its 95th anniversary as a republic. So, with national pride at stake, it would take a brave man to bet against it happening.
The gateway will initially boast a 1.4 million square metre terminal and two runways capable of handling up to 90 million passengers per annum, although with future expansions is expected to ultimately be capable of accommodating around 200mppa.
From day one, Istanbul New Airport (INA) will have five piers, 143 passenger boarding bridges, 13 check-in islands, nearly 85,000sqm of duty free and F&B/retail space and a 42 kilometre long baggage handling system capable of processing up to 30,000 bags per hour.
Quite simply the airport will finally give Istanbul the state-of-the-art facilities and capacity it needs to meet long-term demand – driven by Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s fastest growing carriers – despite the fact that its opening will lead to the closure of Istanbul Atatürk.
And with forecasts predicting that traffic demand will exceed 110mppa by the end of 2023, the need for a new international hub with space to grow and develop into one of the world’s leading gateways is clear for all to see.
So, what can we expect from Istanbul New Airport and will the airport really set a new benchmark for the industry in terms of its retail offerings, IT innovation and customer service? Kadri Samsunlu, CEO of IGA Airport Operation, answers the questions.
Where is the new airport located and how easy will it be to get to from Istanbul?
The airport is located on a 7,594-hectare site – more than six times the size of Heathrow Airport – on the European side of Istanbul between the villages Tayakadın and Akpınar along the Black Sea coast.
It will be connected to the Anatolian side of the city with the Third Bosporus Bridge and the Northern Marmara motorway. INA will also be integrated into the entire public transportation system via metro and rapid-transit connections. Subway journey times will take around
Can you tell us more about the concepts behind the terminal’s design, look and feel?
This grand gateway to Istanbul and Turkey will capture the unique spirit and character of Istanbul whilst being a top, modern and functional airport that meets the highest international standards.
Collecting awards for its design and projects even before its opening, the terminal building will be modern and highly functional with a unique sense of place, reflecting the culture and values of Turkey. Vaulted roofs cover the processor and piers and connect to a series of modular column grids that support and regulate the stacked spaces within.
We are building an airport in which all passengers will experience many unique and never seen before innovations. Our focus is to bring an unprecedented passenger experience that is efficient and stress-free, cutting waiting time and paper processing.
I am very confident that Istanbul New Airport will be a global showcase, not only for the world-renowned Turkish hospitality, but also a brand-new bridge, which connects people and continents.
With its 100,000sqm retail area, INA will offer a wide variety of shopping and dining options to the passengers. It will also provide smart technologies to enhance the passenger experience and reduce stress levels such as biometric screening and advanced passport control processes.
Will the new airport be easy to navigate?
The layout of the terminal is designed to ensure a coherent transition from landside to airside in an environment that is light, spacious and easy to navigate. Two separate levels are designated for arrivals and departures to make passenger navigation simpler, clearer and more intuitive.
Passenger touchpoints are designed in a way to enable incoming and outgoing passenger traffic to flow naturally and efficiently.
Being under one roof means providing high passenger comfort because there is no need to go from one terminal building to another. This is particularly important for transfer passengers arriving in Istanbul for the first time as it is easy to get lost if they need to go to another terminal building. Our terminal design will support intuitive way finding system, so actually the building will tell you where to go.
Will the new terminal embrace self-service technology and other state-of-the-art IT systems?
Istanbul New Airport will be a centre of IT innovation that offers a comprehensive set of IT solutions to enhance the passenger experience. These will include self-service equipment with biometric features such as Border Control I-Gates, which will ensure fast and secure processing times. Passengers can also expect augmented reality; beacons and geo finding technologies; and smart kiosks with large touchscreens capable of providing information ranging from real-time information on departures, security waiting times and wayfinding to gates to suggestions about shopping, dining and other services.
INA will offer social media enabled services; airport gaming; loyalty services; queue management; and a seamless IOT (Internet of Things) framework to communicate with smart infrastructure in order to deliver a more efficient and effective user experience. The airport will also embrace A-CDM (Airport Collaborative Decision Making) to help reduce delays, improve the predictability of events and ensure the optimum use of resources.
Will INA be environmentally-friendly?
IGA is the first company in Turkey to gain ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System in the aviation sector and is doing all that it can to ensure that INA will be an environmentally friendly airport.
The airport’s sustainable energy and environment activities include a biodiversity action plan, sustainable waste management, environmental and social impact management and green procurement and supply policies.
What about the airport’s cargo facilities and capacity?
IGA is constructing a huge Cargo City at INA with facilities that go way beyond traditional cargo terminals and will be capable of simultaneously handling multiple wide-body cargo aircraft.
Upon opening, Istanbul New Airport will have the capacity to handle four million tonnes of cargo per annum giving it the potential to become one of the world’s biggest cargo airports. The busiest cargo airport in the world today is Hong Kong which handles volumes of around 4.9 million tonnes. When fully developed, INA will have a capacity of 5.5 million tonnes.
How will the airport be developed post 2018 to allow it to handle up to 150 million passengers by 2028?
Two runways, one stretching from the east to the west, a second terminal and a number of auxiliary support facilities will be added in the next phases of the airport’s development raising INA’s capacity to 120 million passengers per annum by the end of 2022.
A new satellite terminal and another runway will be commissioned in the project’s fourth phase allowing the airport to ultimately accommodate over 200 million passengers. So, as you can see, there is a very clear expansion plan for Istanbul New Airport, which is being built to grow.