Turkey's first high-speed metro line will soon make travelling to Istanbul a breeze.
The metro will travel 93 million passengers each year between Istanbul's new Airport and downtown Istanbul on the M11 line, according to Turkey's minister of transport and infrastructure, Cahit Turhan.
Turhan said the high-speed link, which is 80% complete, would have trains travelling at 120 kilometres an hour (75mph), bringing passengers to central Istanbul in just half an hour. Current metro trains travel at 50kmh. The line will span 37km (23 miles) and include nine stations. Istanbul Airport will have three stations to transport passengers into the city, where they can connect to other lines.
The minister was speaking at an event to celebrate a new 30km tunnel between Hasdal, in Eyup, and the airport. The construction was done with the help of 4000 people and 10 boring machines, working around the clock to excavate 64m of rock each day.
Istanbul's Airport, when fully functional in 2027, will be the biggest and busiest in the world, handling up to 200 million passengers each year - an incredible number when you consider the current busiest air hub is Atlanta International Airport, which handles just over 100m passengers each year. Turkey, home to a fast-growing tourist industry, is expected to welcome close to 50 million visitors this year.
Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin said the metro link would add to Istanbul's appeal with travellers, both leisure and commercial.
"Istanbul's become the hub for business travellers from all over the region," Deggin said. "A number of international companies have set up headquarters in the city, aiming to improve their ties with the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia."
He added that the new airport will compete with large Middle East hubs like Doha and Dubai.
"Istanbul is in a central location, with many cities within easy reach, which makes it so appealing for travellers. I think the new airport has an excellent chance of being a regional leader, taking a share of passengers who would once travel to Europe or Asia through Middle Eastern hubs like Doha and Dubai."
With Turkish citizenship by investment becoming increasingly popular since the threshold was lowered to $250,000, Deggin believed measures that made it easier for people to travel between their home and Istanbul would mean the city's appeal as a place to live and work would increase.
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