“Istanbul Will be The Most Connected City In The World.”
Turkish Airlines is aiming to double its passenger numbers in less than a decade with the help of an ambitious planned new airport near Istanbul, championed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the CEO of the fast-growing flag-carrier said.
Chief executive Temel Kotil also said Turkish Airlines’ growth strategy did not for now include the acquisition of giant A380 four-engine planes from Airbus, preferring instead to up frequency on popular routes with smaller planes.
Kotil confirmed that Istanbul’s planned third airport close to the Black Sea had a projected start date of October 29, 2017, saying it would host 70 million passengers in its first year of operation.
The airline’s current hub — the already hugely overcrowded Atatürk airport named after Turkey’s modern founder — would then only be used for non-scheduled flights, he said.
The second airport, Sabiha Gokcen on the Asian side of Istanbul, would continue operations.
“You need a big airport. Istanbul will be the most connected city in the world.”
Rapid connections at the new airport would mean passengers “will go home two hours earlier on average.”
“The mega (air) hubs are growing but apart from Istanbul none are in Europe,” Kotil said.
He said the ultimate capacity of the new airport — which some officials have suggested could be named after Erdogan would be a colossal 150 million passengers annually, which would make it one of the biggest in the world with six runways and four terminals.