The agreement, signed today, means that Incheon International Airport Corporation and Copenhagen Airports International, a subsidiary of Copenhagen Airports, will act as consultants for Istanbul New Airport for the next five years.
The consulting project includes strategy and business plan development, human resource and organisational development, operational readiness through trial operations, and consultancy on the operation of the new airport in the first three years after its opening in 2017.
The two award-winning airports in combination will contribute their experience, skills and personnel to the benefit of IGA and the success of Istanbul New Airport.
In 2014, Incheon and Copenhagen airports handled a combined 71.1 million passengers, Incheon with 45.5 million and Copenhagen with 25.6 million.
Commenting on the historic agreement, IGA CEO, Mertol Genc, said: "We are pleased to reach an agreement with the world's foremost airport operators at this stage of development.
"For us, creating scale with utmost traveller comfort is a priority. Incheon and Copenhagen provide us expertise in attaining our scale, comfort, innovation, efficiency and profitability objectives which will enhance the passenger experience.
"Besides these, their presence, as strong international operators, provides further proof that IGA is already up and running in the eyes of the global aviation business.
"This cooperation is very significant for us and for the Turkish Aviation Industry since we aim to build a global hub connecting all continents and make our country and Istanbul the center in the global aviation industry."
Four phases to build the airport operations
The Operations Consultancy will run in four phases with the first phase commencing immediately.
The first phase services will address strategic operational and commercial issues dealing with the airport development process.
A team of experts drawn from both Copenhagen and Incheon organisations will work side-by-side with IGA operational departments to develop the concept of operations and ensure that international best practices are incorporated into the airport design.
At the same time their international airport commercial knowledge and experience will focus on IGA’s business plan objectives.
The second phase services will address the IGA organisational strategy in building and training a management team and workforce to take control of the infrastructure as it is developed, and then operate this massive airport for 25 years through to 150 million passenger capacity and beyond.
The third phase services will commence 15 to 18 months prior to airport commissioning.
Commonly referred to as Operations Readiness and Transfer (ORAT), this phase is critical to the successful opening of Istanbul New Airport.
On its opening date the airport will accept the transfer of operations from Istanbul Atatürk Airport combined with additional new air services previously unavailable because of capacity issues.
Operationally-ready airport facilities, properly tested and commissioned to ensure a seamless start to operations, will welcome more than 80 million passengers in its first year of operations.
Incheon has accomplished a similar feat in 2001 with the transfer of operations to the greenfield Incheon International Airport, and with two major expansion projects since that time.
According to IGA, the commissioning of the original airport and the subsequent expansion has been accomplished with no major issues setting them apart from other airports where there have been significant teething problems.
The fourth phase covers the period of the first three years of operations where in addition to IGA’s obligations under the Concession Agreement signed with General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMI), the consultants will provide full-time senior experts on site covering the areas of airside, terminal and landside operations as well airline marketing and hub strategy.
The consultancy effort will be integrated into the IGA operational staff of more than 5,000 people ensuring a full transfer of airport operational know-how for the full 25 years of the concession agreement.
Park Wan Su, CEO of Incheon International Airport Corporation, said: “We shall truly and sincerely do our best in close co-operation with Copenhagen Airports to contribute to the successful construction and operation of this hub.
"This project will be the base for the further development of the overseas business of Incheon Airport.”
While Copenhagen Airports CEO, Thomas Woldbye, noted: “Copenhagen Airport has been voted ‘Europe’s most efficient airport’ by the international Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) nine times in the last 11 years and we have a long history of developing international airports in Denmark, China, Mexico and Great Britain.
"When we team up with Incheon Airport we hope that our combined knowledge will help Istanbul in building and operating an international competitive airport."