Istanbul Airport’s third runway to be operational by 2020

A third runway at the new Istanbul Airport is currently being constructed and will be fully operational by the first half of 2020, according to iGA Istanbul Airport CEO Kadri Samsunlu.

Once completed, the new runway will increase the current airport capacity of 80 planes per hour to 120 planes per hour and will also reduce aircraft taxi times by 50 per cent, due to its close proximity to the domestic terminal.

“We intend to bring into service our three independent runways, within the first 6 months of the next year,” said Samsunlu.

“With the time efficiency and comfort the completion of the three still-under-construction runways will provide, we will carry our quality of service assertion to the top.

“Istanbul Airport is the most important economic asset of our country. It will be a driving force behind our country’s development.”

The development of Istanbul Airport, now into its fifth year, is broken down into four phases, with the completion of runway three representing the end of the first phase.

The fourth and final phase is set to be completed by 2028, by which time the airport will have six runways and an annual passenger capacity of 200 million.

With only the third runway, Istanbul Airport will become the first airport in Turkey and just the second in Europe capable of independent parallel operations on three runways.

Civil aviation experts have expressed concern about safety at the new airport, specifically the distance between runways and the length of time spent passing between them.

These fears have been fuelled by several minor accidents already this year, including two Turkish Airlines aircraft almost catching fire due to uneven tarmac and another aircraft hitting a power pole during taxiing.

16 million passengers have passed through the airport on 100,000 flights in the space of three months since it took over from former main airport Atatürk on 6 April 2019.