Editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the opening of Istanbul’s new mega hub in this ‘Design & Build’ themed 2018 year-end issue of Airport World.
Building for the future
The recent first phase opening of Istanbul Airport, Turkey’s new €10.2 billion gateway to the world, signals the dawn of a new era for aviation in the country and arguably the world as it will undoubtedly become one of the biggest hubs on the planet.
Officially opened on the 95th anniversary of the formation of the Republic of Turkey, the new airport will eventually boast several terminals and six runways capable of handling up to 200 million passengers per annum.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is reported as describing the new gateway as the “pride of our country and an example to the world”, which he hopes will benefit Turkey, the region and the world.
“We did not build Istanbul Airport for our country. It is a great service we are offering the region and the world,” he told all those in attendance.
The airport, a triumph of the public-private partnership (PPP) business model, has been built and will be operated by IGA for at least the next 25 years under the terms of a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) concession agreement with the Turkish government.
Turkish companies Cengiz, Mapa, Limak, Kolin and Kaylon all have a 20% stake in IGA, which was founded to build and operate the airport.
Had I been able to make it to Istanbul for the new airport’s October 29 inauguration, it would have been the fourth major airport I have personally seen opened over the last 20 years after Olso in 1998 and Incheon and Athens in 2001.
Its opening, and all the potential that it brings, means the beginning of the end for Istanbul Atatürk, which is set to close for commercial operations on December 31, 2018, after serving as the city’s main international gateway and hub for Turkish Airlines for over 60 years.
Luckily its operator, TAV Airports, is a global company with an enviable portfolio of airports at home in Turkey (Ankara, Izmir, Bodrum and Antalya) and overseas in Croatia, Macedonia, Georgia, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, and has been readying itself for this eventuality since IGA won the tender for the new airport in 2013.
We covered the planned opening of Istanbul Airport earlier this year with an exclusive interview with Kadri Samsunlu, CEO of IGA Airport Operation, so the gateway doesn’t actually come under the microscope in this ‘Design & Build’ final 2018 issue of Airport World.
Instead, we turn our attentions on Vietnam’s planned new Long Thanh International Airport; the need for all inclusive airport design; Asia’s big build; and the creation of a forest inside Vancouver International Airport’s expanded Pier D!
Our CEO interview is with Dubai Airports’ Paul Griffiths, who discusses everything from soaring traffic at Dubai International and the incredible development plans for Dubai World Central to his love for music and playing the organ in Westminster Abbey!
Elsewhere in the magazine you can learn more about ACI/IATA’s New Experience Travel Technologies (NEXTT) initiative; and review some of the highlights of The Trinity Forum in Shanghai.
As always, we hear words of wisdom from ACI World director general, Angela Gittens; cover human resources issues in our regular People matters column; report on the latest ACI news; and find out what’s been keeping some of ACI’s World Business Partners busy in the second half of 2018.
That’s all from us for 2018, folks! I look forward to 2019 and once again bringing you all the news, views and developments from this great and exciting industry of ours.