Istanbul Airport’s operator IGA said that a facility had been established at the airport in order for coronavirus testing be done on passengers as they arrive or leave Turkey.
The samples are done with swabs and are taken from the throat and nose. These will be taken from passengers, processed and examined in the laboratories located in the terminals of the airport. The results will then be delivered to passengers within two hours of samples being collected. This is what IGA’s operations control director, Fatih Mere, told reporters.
Mere explained that passengers will have a COVID-19 test prior to departure and also after arrival. The results will be sent via email in Turkish and English or given as hard copies for those who are going to be travelling abroad and then returning to Turkey.
There is the capacity to conduct between 38,000 and 40,000 tests per day at the facility, Mere explained, adding that the facility had been created because of the joint demand from the Turkish Health Ministry and the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Mere continued saying: “We have 50 cabins for taking samples. The hourly capacity is 2,000.” He also underlined that the Heathy Ministry fee for the PCR COVID-19 tests is TL 110 (around 16 USD).
“We have no profit margin here. It is a service that we offer to ensure that passengers can have their tests done and continue their flights without stress.”
Phases and the airport’s expansion
During the first phase, 520 airport staff were tested for COVID-19 before passengers arrived at the airport, and all of these tests were returned negative.
The Culture and Tourism Minister, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, spoke last month saying that COVID-19 testing facilities would be opened at the busiest airports initially, naming Istanbul, Antalya, Dalaman and Izmir as definitive options, in early July, while other airports would then follow suit.
Istanbul Airport resumed flights internationally as of June 11 as part of their normalisation plans after a two-month break due to COVID-19. Domestic flights in Turkey had previously restarted on June 1.
The international airport is one of the most important and largest airports in the world; there is an approximate annual capacity of 90 million passengers. This was after the first phase was completed in October 2018. Once the four phases have all been completed, they believe that the airport will be able to serve 200 million passengers; this is due to be completed by 2028.
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