Istanbul’s new airport is scheduled to become fully operational on March 3, following delays.
The huge airport partially opened on October 29, 2018, but this year will see it take over all commercial flights from the city’s overcrowded Ataturk Airport.
It plans to initially handle 90 million annual passengers, eventually expanding to a capacity of 200 million, which would make it the biggest airport in the world.
Turkish Airlines has announced several 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.
A full opening was initially expected in October, and then pushed back to January 2019.
Media reports at the time said the Turkish government would compensate airport businesses for the loss of revenue until the new facility opens.
January 15 saw five new shops open in its 570,000-square-foot duty-free zone.
“We are all ready for the occasion,” said Kadri Samsunlu, CEO of operators IGA Airport.
“As a major hub at the intersection of Asia, Europe and the Middle East, we will bring the world closer together.
A new international airport is also scheduled to open in Beijing this year, preparing to serve 100 million passengers – half that of Istanbul’s.