The new Istanbul airport (IGA), which partially opened in October last year, is due to begin full passenger operations on 3 March.

When it opens, the new hub will replace the existing Istanbul Ataturk airport, which will close for scheduled passenger flights.

Kadri Samsunlu, IGA’s CEO of airport operations, said: “We are all ready for the occasion.”

The second phase of the airport’s duty free zones opened on 15 January with five new stores, creating a total of 53,000 sqm of retail space.

IGA conducted a survey of 421 domestic and international passengers already using the new airport and found that more than 90 per cent were satisfied with general services at the hub, including security, information and check-in.

Samsunlu continued: “As a major hub at the intersection of Asia, Europe and the Middle East, we will bring the world closer together. With an initial capacity to serve 90 million people, which will be expanded to 200 million once all phased are completed, Istanbul airport will be the biggest airport in the world.”

The current busiest airport in the world is Atlanta, which serves 104 million passengers a year. In terms of size, Istanbul airport is 3.5 times bigger than Beijing airport at 80.5 million sqm.

As the airport gets ready to become fully operational, Turkish Airlines has announced a number of new international and domestic routes from Istanbul, including Moscow, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Ashgabat, Tbilisi, Cyprus, Kuwait and Baku. New domestic destinations include Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Asana, Trabzon, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kayseri and Hatay.

The New Airport Show Istanbul, which takes place from 18-20 June, will celebrate the opening of the new hub with an exhibition and conference detailing how and why the airport was built.

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