As the first phase of Istanbul New Airport is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018, its impact both on Istanbul as a destination and a significant transfer hub is gaining more prominence.
The airport will not only have a huge economic impact on Istanbul and Turkey, but also on the nation’s flagship carrier, Turkish Airlines (THY). The carrier’s chairman, İlker Aycı, underscored that combined with the THY’s growth rate, Istanbul New Airport will become a very valuable transfer hub in Istanbul and once operational, it will reinvigorate THY’s competitive edge, carrying it up to greater heights.
The THY chairman, attending the International Media Forum 2017 held in Antalya’s Belek Tourism Center as a speaker, was the subject of intense interest from foreign correspondents and talked about the achievements and goals of the institution. Aycı underlined that the third airport is very important for THY, Turkey and its region.
“The third airport is completely changing the story. By building one of the world’s largest airports in Istanbul, a magnificent environment will be created, in which passengers can easily be accommodated, change planes and benefit from facilities at the same time with a smart and fully-fledged airport,” he continued.
Noting that the new airport will have a positive impact on Turkey and Istanbul’s position in the world, Aycı stated that this megaproject is more than just an airport. He said the airport, which will link Turkey to the world, is a gigantic project that will connect countries in terms of commerce, tourism and travel.
“When the third airport is also combined with THY’s growth rate, it will become a very valuable transfer center in the Istanbul region. Turkish Airlines will also grow with it. When the new airport is completed, it will raise THY a few more steps up,” he said.
Aycı said that approximately 550 airplanes could park at the new eco-friendly airport, stating that air transport is a sector where competition is very high.
“Turkey is not just constructing an airport in Istanbul. There is a great deal of competition, especially for transit passengers. THY is trying to increase the quality of service every day,” he continued. “In this competitive environment, we also see the competition of the world cities. Istanbul has an excellent transportation infrastructure as one of the most competitive cities. It is one of the most important transfer centers of the world in terms of connection and function.”
In a previous report, highlighting Istanbul’s position as “the West of the East and the East of the West,” CEO of Turkish Airlines Bilal Ekşi stated that 66 percent of world air traffic passes over Istanbul and there are 41 countries and 78 cities (excluding Turkish cities) in a three-hour radius to Turkey, 53 countries and 118 cities in a four-hour flight radius and 66 countries and 143 cities in a five-hour flight radius, emphasizing the city’s connectivity to the surrounding regions, hence its significant potential as a transfer hub with high connectivity.
Ekşi also remarked that when Istanbul New Airport becomes operational, the problem of frequency for many airliners that cannot fly to or from Istanbul due to shortage of slots will be able to fly to or from Istanbul, which will bring new airliners into Turkish aviation.
Ekşi also stressed that Istanbul New Airport will upgrade Istanbul’s aviation services, which already offer flights to the greatest number of countries.
When asked about how the airliner could contribute to the competition with other rising airports in the region, Ekşi said that THY foresees a significant increase in the frequency of flights to important world capitals and destinations where they carry a vast number of passengers. Another important contributor, according to Ekşi, will be the quality time the new airport will present to its passengers, which in return gains both the airport and the company a competitive edge over their rivals.