Istanbul New Airport to fully start passenger operations in March 2019

Photo: © IGA / Istanbul Airport

Istanbul’s new airport plans to start full passenger operations in March this year.

After deferring the move of most operations from Istanbul Atatürk to the new airport twice, the transfer is now scheduled to take place on March 3rd. This was reported by Turkish newspaper Milliyet.

The move was first delayed from the initial launch date on October 29th, the 95th anniversary of the Turkish independence, to the end of December. However, only a few days before the scheduled opening, this was further delayed to some point in March and will now eventually take place on March 3rd.

At the same time, Turkish Airlines has announced that it will move additional flights from Istanbul Atatürk to the new airport, before the scheduled change of airports. Several domestic destinations, as well as some European flights (e.g. to Frankfurt and Paris) and some Asian services (including flights to Kuwait City or Ashgabat), will be moved to the new airport. The first flights will take place on January 10th and 11th.

Once the new airport is fully operational, the current Istanbul Atatürk Airport will be closed for scheduled passenger flights. Its IATA code ‘IST’ will be transferred to the new airport, which is using ‘ISL’ at the moment. Initially, the new airport can serve up to 90 Million passengers a year. This can be expanded to 200 Million in the next decades. In the meantime, cargo operators, including Turkish Airlines’ subsidiary Turkish Cargo, will continue to use the existing cargo facilities at Atatürk Airport until new facilities are built at the new airport.

Read more: IFN correspondent Umut Celik checked out the new Istanbul Airport