The planned shift from Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport (IST) to the newly built Istanbul New Airport (ISL) has been delayed again, with the transfer starting on 5 April and full operations to begin from 7 April.
The transfer to the new airport from the existing Ataturk Airport will begin on April 5 at 3 am (0000 GMT) and will last 45 hours, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reports. The country’s Ahval news website reported the delay was due to political and economic problems, in part due to an impending local election.
It was previously announced that the new USD 12 billion airport would become fully operational on 31 December 2018, but that date was then pushed back to January and then again to 3 March.
The newspaper also reported that during the transfer period Istanbul Airport and Atatürk Airport will only be available for base carriers’ flights and both airports will be operating with a common reduced capacity of 35 arrivals and 35 departures per hour.
Once all flights have been transferred to the new airport, Atatürk Airport will be closed to all domestic and international commercial passenger flights, but will remain open for cargo, maintenance, general aviation, air taxi, business flights, state aircraft and other flights permitted by the Turkish General Directorate of State Airports (DHMI).
Istanbul Airport has a capacity of 90 million passengers and 2.5 million tonnes of cargo annually in its first phase, which will grow to 200 million passengers and 5.5 million tonnes of cargo following the second phase, with construction expected to be completed in 2023.