By Kurt Hofmann
Turkish Airlines (TK) needs a bigger airport and hopes the new Istanbul airport will be built by 2016.
CEO Temel Kotil told ATW in Istanbul that TK’s hub at Istanbul Ataturk, which handles about 32.9 million passengers per year, is too small and has hindered the carrier’s growth strategy.
Kotil said TK already occupies “75% of the airport capacity” but it also wants to other carriers to be there.
“Experts say in five years from now the new airport will be ready,” said Kotil, who noted the final location will be selected soon and construction is likely to begin by year end.
The new airport should handle up to 120 million passengers and have five runways. It will be 6,000 hectares (14,826 acres), six times bigger than the current Ataturk airport, Kotil said.
The growth of the new airport will be “more important for Turkey’s future than for the growth of the airline, but it will push us to develop faster,” Kotil said.
Istanbul’s second airport, Sabiha Gokcen, served 11.6 million passengers in 2010, according to the Arthur D. Little World Airport Report.
Kotil said TK’s hub is perfectly positioned globally and is a “goldmine” for the carrier. He said TK generates “$6 billion from international passenger business, but “we can grow this up to $40 billion.” International transfer passengers at IST should increase to 20 million, up from 5.6 million, by 2016, Kotil said, noting that TK’s international passengers should reach 50 million.
TK operates 175 aircraft and transports 29.1 million passengers.
via Turkish Airlines eager for new Istanbul airport by 2016 | ATWOnline.