14 JANUARY 2019
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The full opening of the new Istanbul Airport for passenger flights, initially scheduled for this month, has been delayed for a second time and will now be on 3 March, according to press reports.
Adverse weather conditions have been blamed, with videos posted on social media showing rain leaking heavily into a waterlogged passenger terminal and a flooded car park.
Turkish Airlines and other carriers were scheduled to launch passenger services at the €10.5bn facility on 1 January after airline staff and 14,000 airport vehicles moved from Istanbul’s current hub, Ataturk Airport, on 30-31 December.
The overnight transfer did not take place and added to a previous project delay. The airport was due to begin a full schedule of passenger flights last October but this was scaled back to a “soft opening” of just five flights a day.
İGA Airport, which built and is operating the new complex under a 25-year concession, said nevertheless 66,000 passengers had used the facility since late October.
Chief executive Kadri Samsunlu said last week: "The airport will be commissioned at full capacity in a matter of weeks. All is ready for the occasion.” İGA added there would now be “a step by step movement from Atatürk Airport”.
(See also ‘Istanbul’s new airport takes off’, BTN 29 October 2018).
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