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Final Date Set for Move to New Istanbul Airport

Difficult relocation is said to be the largest such airport move in history

Turkish Airlines is looking to complete its move to the new Istanbul Airport by the first week of April, completing a process which began last October. The final leg of the relocation is expected to take no less than 45 hours in a push to complete the move by just before midnight on April 6.

Both airports in Istanbul will be closed to all passenger flights — whether outgoing through Atatürk Airport or incoming into the new Istanbul Airport — between 2:00 AM and 2:00 PM local time on April 6.

The last flight out carrying passengers from Ataturk Airport, will be off to Singapore.  Following this final move, operations will start at the new Istanbul Airport at 2:00 PM on April 6, with the first flight departing for Ankara Esenboğa Airport.

“It’s biggest move in the aviation history,” said Turkish Airlines chairman, M. İlker Aycı, in a statement. “The combined size of the equipment we are going to transfer would cover 33 football pitches.”  

The move will involve equipment weighing approximately 47,300 tons to be carried from Atatürk Airport to the new Istanbul Airport. Over 10,000 pieces of equipment are expected to be moved and more than 1,800 airport personnel will be facilitating the operation.

The IATA Code of IST will continue to be used. Until the move is complete, Turkish Airlines passenger flights operated via the partially running Istanbul Airport will continue to be listed with the “ISL” code. After the move, IATA codes will change, and Atatürk Airport’s “IST” code will be given to Istanbul Airport. Then, Atatürk Airport, which will then host cargo and VIP passenger flights, will use “ISL” code.