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NEWS Last modified on November 16, 2015

UK firm to assist with the retail planning for Istanbul's new mega-hub

The retail planning for Istanbul's eagerly awaited new €10.2 billion gateway is to be assisted by London-based The Design Solution.

Located in Amavutköv district 35 kilometres northwest of Istanbul, it will replace Atatürk Airport as Turkey’s major gateway and will have an ultimate capacity of 150 million passengers per annum.

Set to open in 2018, Istanbul’s new airport is expected to be an iconic global hub that sets new standards in operational and service quality, and operator İGA Havalimanı İşletmesi AŞ (IGA) is determined that the retail experience will set a new benchmark for travel retail.  

The airport will have a gross floor area of over one million square metres, of which approximately 53,000sqm has been set aside for retail.

Earlier this year UNIFREE DutyFree İşletmeciliği AŞ – in which Gebr Heinemann has a majority stake – secured a 25-year contract to operate all of the international airside retail space and The Design Solution will be working closely with these retail and supply partners to develop the optimum overall commercial plan.


Robbie Gill, managing director of The Design Solution comments: “It is both challenging and humbling to be working with the biggest new airport on the planet – a gateway to one of the world’s greatest and most unique cities.

"We are immensely proud to have been selected to support IGA’s astonishing vision where we can apply our extensive global experience to the project including, most recently, the commercial planning of the new Midfield terminal at Abu Dhabi, but the scale of Istanbul’s new airport adds an extraordinary new dimension to the challenge.  

"IGA have a clear focus on creating what they describe as ‘the world’s best shopping environment in worldwide travel retail’, ranging from a new interpretation of contemporary luxury to a traditional bazaar concept, and we look forward to being part of delivering this unique and authentic vision. 

"Istanbul itself provides a unique inspiration for how an authentic sense of place can be delivered, ensuring that every passenger enjoys the retail space to the full and also that they feel intrinsically connected to the city at the bridge of Asia and Europe.”

Construction on the first of the four-phases of the project began on May 1, 2015, and includes a massive earthworks programme to provide a platform for the infrastructure development.  

Ultimately the new airport, with an area of 76 square kilometres, will accommodate six runways and, when it opens (2018), the current airport will then be closed. 

The Design Solution brings considerable experience from the greater MEA region through a portfolio of other major airport projects, including projects at Muscat, Doha, Mumbai, Delhi and Antalya. 

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