Turkish Airlines says that 10,000 pieces of equipment weighing 47,000 tonnes were tagged piece by piece to complete the shift from Ataturk Airport to the newly built Istanbul Airport.

A passenger gets his passport and ticket checked at a boarding gate for Turkish Airlines' last flight to Singapore from Ataturk Airport, as Ataturk Airport is being moved to Istanbul Airport within “The Great Move”, in Istanbul, Turkey on April 06, 2019.
A passenger gets his passport and ticket checked at a boarding gate for Turkish Airlines' last flight to Singapore from Ataturk Airport, as Ataturk Airport is being moved to Istanbul Airport within “The Great Move”, in Istanbul, Turkey on April 06, 2019. (AA)

Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines bid Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport farewell with its last passenger flight from there, it said on Saturday. 

Ataturk Airport has been the hub and home for the carrier during the last 86 years, Turkish Airlines said in a written statement. 

The last passenger flight was scheduled to Singapore at 0500 GMT, it said. 

“The flag carrier’s TK54 Istanbul - Singapore flight has already become a memorable milestone in the history of Turkish Airlines,” it added. 

TRT World's Oubai Shahbandar reports from Istanbul's new airport.

On Friday, Turkish Airlines embarked on a mammoth logistical operation, moving from its old base at Ataturk Airport to the newly built Istanbul Airport.

The airline described the operation as "The Great Move" [Buyuk Goc in Turkish], which is expected to last 45 hours and involve 707 trucks and 800 personnel.

"10,000 pieces of equipment weighing 47,000 tons were tagged piece by piece," it said on its official Twitter account.

A Turkish Airlines counter is pictured at the departure terminal of the Istanbul International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, April 3, 2019. Picture taken April 3, 2019.
A Turkish Airlines counter is pictured at the departure terminal of the Istanbul International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, April 3, 2019. Picture taken April 3, 2019. (Reuters)

Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi also discussed the move on Twitter.

"#BuyukGoc is being followed step by step. We are able to monitor all transportation processes instantaneously with the software developed by our transportation company Arkas," he said.

The national flag carrier also announced that due to the relocation, there will be no flights from Ataturk Airport as of 2300 GMT on Saturday.

Before the shifting of logistics, Turkish Airlines organised a "farewell flight"  for its employees from its old base to the new airport.

The employees, who come from different parts of the world, shared their emotions in a video released by the airliner. 

There will be a period of 12 hours during which there will be no commercial passenger flights from both Ataturk and Istanbul airports until the first flight from the new airport to Ankara on Saturday at 1100 GMT, officials said.

During the relocation between the two airports, major roads in the city will be closed to traffic to ensure secure operation.

People take pictures of taking off airplanes from a terrasse of the Ataturk Airport on April 4, 2019, in Istanbul.
People take pictures of taking off airplanes from a terrasse of the Ataturk Airport on April 4, 2019, in Istanbul. (AFP)

Around 40 percent of the moving has been completed and hopefully on Saturday night all moving process will be done, Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci told reporters at Ataturk airport. 

Founded in 1933, Turkish Airlines flies to more than 300 destinations in over 120 countries — 49 domestic and 257 international.

Last year, it carried more than 75 million passengers with a seat occupancy rate of 82 percent.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies