160 million passengers at Istanbul Airport in four years

Turkish Airlines

Istanbul Airport, Turkey’s biggest airport and one of the largest in the world, has now served more than 160 million passengers following its opening four years ago, according to the Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Adil Karaismailoglu.

Istanbul Airport over the last four years

The stunning structure made of steel and glass that sits along the Black Sea coast has turned itself into one of the most important centres of transit in aviation, after it was formally opened at the end of October 2018. It was declared fully operational from April 2019.

During the four years it has been open, Istanbul has seen more than 1.1 million airplanes take off and land at the airport, with the planes carrying more than 160.27 million foreign visitors to the city. This was confirmed in a statement given by Karaismailoglu.

He continued to say that Istanbul Airport had surpassed other airports around the world in such a short time for both the number of flights and the number of passengers being transported.

Karaismailoglu continued to note that: “Istanbul Airport continues its strong trend that it has achieved with normalisation after COVID-19. Istanbul Airport has taken its place among the most important transit centres in the world and has rapidly become the busiest airport in Europe.”

The current phase of construction

In the current phase, Istanbul Airport is capable of handling around 90 million passengers every year, which is a high figure for an airport. Nevertheless, this is nothing compared to the potential capacity of the airport, which is projected to be around 200 million, following the completion of all phases. This would make it the world’s largest airport.

Expansion plans for the future

The expansions of the airport are expected to be completed by 2028, which includes all four phases of the construction of the airport and a total of six runways.

Karaismailoglu said that, according to the Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), Istanbul Airport had managed to serve nearly 20 million passengers in the third quarter of 2022, which made it the busiest airport in Europe.

First nine months of 2022 and last year’s COVID-19 pandemic

Between January and September, Istanbul Airport served, the minister said, a total of 47.57 million passengers. Last year, despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, the airport managed nearly 37 million passengers. This is according to the data that was collected from ACI Europe. This made it Europe’s busiest airport for the second year in a row.

In 2020, Istanbul Airport took the title of Europe’s busiest airport for the first time, only one year after it was officially operational. This was thanks to Turkey’s decision to allow foreign visitors to enter without restriction to the country in an effort to boost the tourism revenue. In 2020, the airport of Istanbul served around 23.4 million passengers.


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