How will the New Istanbul Airport Affect Bulgaria?

Novinite Insider » OPINIONS | December 10, 2018, Monday // 14:03
Bulgaria: How will the New Istanbul Airport Affect Bulgaria? Source: BULATSA;;

Modern Turkey loves big projects. Huge bridges, multi-lane highways, transcontinental gas pipelines, etc. One of the most impressive is undoubtedly the new Istanbul airport. With a total area of 8 million square meters, when completed, it will be the largest in the world. Even after the first phase of construction, the airport will be able to serve more than 110 airplanes simultaneously and will provide work indirectly and directly to 225,000 people, writes

The megaproject started in May 2015 and its first phase is due to be completed in October 2018. 80% of the planned activity is ready, test landings and take-offs are scheduled and the official opening scheduled for 29 October, over 95 -the anniversary of the Turkish Republic. The airport and its adjacent infrastructure are being built simultaneously on 3 different construction sites with over 800 machines and 2200 trucks. The project employs a total of 31 000 people. The investment is about 10.2 billion dollars, and is expected to generate $ 22.2 billion in the 25-year concession. The airport will serve 350 destinations around the world.

The airport is so huge that it is built in several stages and its facilities will expand further over time. The project has to be finalized by 2030. Then the airport will have 4 terminals with a railway line between them, 6 runways, platforms for 500 aircraft with a total area of ​​6.5 million square meters, outdoor and indoor parking with a capacity of 70 000 cars. There will be many service buildings and facilities such as aviation medical center, rescue and fire stations, hotels, prayer halls, congress centers, power stations, wastewater treatment plants and facilities.

As early as 2018, the airport will be able to accommodate 90 million passengers per year, and by the end of the project, its capacity will be increased to a colossal 200 million passengers. The main reason for its construction is the congestion of the other 2 Istanbul airports - Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen. Annually, traffic through both airports is growing at a double-digit pace, and in 2017 alone, they have served more than 95 million passengers. The new airport will replace and retire Ataturk, which is among the five busiest airports in Europe. It will inherit its aviation code.

What are the benefits for Bulgaria

The airport will change all European airspace by making direct flights to most of the countries in Europe. Many will say, "The airport is really huge and impressive, but what does that affect us? It is not in our country." And they will be wrong. Air transport is of great importance not only for Turkey, but also for the region, and specifically for Bulgaria. The airport is located in the European part of Turkey and is much closer to our border than the other two. The planes will rise and fall below the Bulgarian airspace and our country will become a strategic distribution center from the Middle East to Europe.

"The introduction of the new Turkish airport is a very serious change for our procedures, airspace and everything related to the servicing of the new airport," said Georgi Peev, Director of Air Traffic Management (ATM), to Bulgaria On Air. The air traffic over Bulgaria is expected to increase by 20%, which will also lead to an increase in the revenue from transit fees. At the moment, over 3200 flights pass over our territory, and with the launch of the new Turkish airport they will increase by more than 600. "The more traffic there is, the more air navigation charges our country collects," Peev told BNT.

To deal with the increasing traffic, the agency is also urgently recruiting air traffic controllers. This is one of the most responsible but well paid professions in Bulgaria. Air traffic controllers receive about 10,000 leva per month, but they need to have a higher education, a pure judicial history and fluent English. Despite its enormous capacity, the new Istanbul airport is not expected to affect flights from Sofia Airport.

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