Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hails construction of the "magnificent airport," saying it will welcome 90 million passengers annually in the first phase. The airport is expected to formally open to air traffic on October 29.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's aircraft made the first ever landing at Istanbul's new colossal airport on Thursday, which is expected to formally open to air traffic on October 29.
The presidential aircraft TC-ANK took off after Erdogan's election rally in Gaziantep to make its historic landing on the 3,750-metre-long and 60-metre-wide runway.
The aircraft was greeted with a water salute on the runway.
Upon his arrival at the airport, Erdogan made a short statement, saying he is pleased with the construction of "a magnificent airport" in Istanbul.
Istanbul's new mega airport will be one of the three biggest airports in the world with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers in the first phase, said Erdogan.
The new airport – 90 percent of which is already completed – will be the world's biggest project built from scratch, upon completion.
TRT World's Oubai Shahbandar has more.
Following the second phase of construction, which is expected to be completed in 2023, it is projected that this number would rise to 150-250 million.
With an investment of $141 million, Istanbul's new airport will be home to the world's largest duty-free shopping complex.
The 53,000-square-metre shopping complex will consist of six sections, including luxury stores and bazaar concepts.
After the launch of the new airport, the existing Ataturk Airport on the European side of Istanbul will be replaced by a huge park, the "People's Garden," Erdogan announced earlier.