Turkish Airlines takes on Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways

AIRPORT MEGAPROJECTS are ten a penny these days. China is building Beijing Daxing International Airport, a new hub airport near its capital, with a total capacity up to 100m passengers a year. Construction has begun on a vast new airport for Dubai, which its government hopes will eventually draw 130m flyers annually. Abu Dhabi and Qatar plan to erect cavernous new terminals. Yet perhaps none is as ambitious as Istanbul’s New Airport, on Europe’s eastern fringe in Turkey. It became fully operational on April 6th, and aims not just to impress visitors but also to help the country’s flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, wrest the skies from its successful Gulf rivals.

It is easy to dismiss the endeavour as a white elephant erected by Turkey’s sultan-like president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Everything about it is huge. Turkish, which is by far the new airport’s biggest user, had to move 10,000 pieces of equipment weighing over 47,000 tonnes 40km (25 miles) from its old home at Ataturk airport. In less than five years a forested valley the size of Manhattan has been transformed into a facility with enough room for 3,000 flights a day carrying 90m flyers a year. That could make it one of the world’s largest airports by international passenger numbers. If all goes to plan, by 2028 the airport will have six runways and capacity for 200m passengers a...



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