Istanbul Airports

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Turkey building massive aerotropolis – 3rd airport for Istanbul – to cover 7.6 km sq including farmland and forest

Turkey is in the process of building a vast 7,650 hectare (ie. 7.65 km sq) aerotropolis airport development, with 6 runways. It forms part of a massive scheme for a road bridge over the Bosphorus, another canal, huge marinas etc covering a vast area. There has been strenuous opposition to this for years, but Turkey wants a new airport and to be a major aviation hub – situated where it is close to the Middle East. Much of the land being dug up and flattened was farmland, and some was forest. This is now all destroyed. The campaign, Northern Forest Defence (KUZEY ORMANLARI SAVUNMASI), has produced film showing the scale of the devastation. They sent a message of solidarity on 1st October, to other protests agains other unwelcome and environmentally destructive airport developments, including the airport project at Nantes. Work on it started in June 2014, and by August about 30% of work on the first phase was complete. If the first phase is completed in February 2018, it is expected the airport will then process 90 million passengers annually, and up to over 150 million passengers a year when fully operational in 2030. The group says people in the area wait to be told their land will be bought up for the project. The first wave of mandatory government purchases was in 2014. If land is designated as farmland, Turkish law allows its expropriation to use for public projects.

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Istanbul with its massive 3rd airport expected to soon take hub business away from Heathrow

The massive new 3rd airport for Istanbul – Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) – big enough to take 150 million passengers per year in due course, is due to open on October 29th 2017.  With 3 runways built in the first phase, it will have six runways and four terminals when completed. It would mean Istanbul having an airport larger than any in Europe.  It will replace Atatürk Airport and provide the capacity that Turkish Airlines wants for huge expansion. Turkey is not doing well in cutting its carbon emissions overall, with more coal power stations planned and inadequate targets. A total of 25 new airports have opened in Turkey in the last 10 years. It is thought that by 2028, the new Istanbul airport may have enough capacity to shift passengers away from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, Heathrow, Schiphol, and Dubai.  Even with the existing airports, Istanbul has been taking share from competitors for transfer traffic between Europe and Asia. Istanbul is one of the top-five largest feeders for Europe. It is likely that even if a 3rd runway was built at Heathrow, Istanbul would overtake Heathrow. It is better located to be a major hub airport, and would take its business. That is expected to start even before 2020. The President of Turkish Airlines says: “The world used to be focused on Northern Europe and America. In this century, it’s our turn.”

Forests and lakes destroyed to build Istanbul’s vast 3rd airport aerotropolis covering 76 square kilometers of land

Istanbul is building a third airport, north of the city close to the Terkos lake area.  Istanbul already has Atatürk Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen airport on the Asian side (these handle around 45 million and 15 million passengers respectively per year), but both claim to be struggling with increased demand – being well located as a hub between Europe, the Middle East and the East.  Their national airline, Turkish Airlines, is growing fast. The site for the 3rd airport, which is to be an Aerotropolis, not merely an airport, is about 76 square kilometres. The third airport is linked with other forest destroying megaprojects – a third bridge over the Bosphorus, a motorway and a canal linking the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. All three are linked and feed into each other.  The vast construction works destroy areas of forest, lakes and ponds – causing serious local concern about biodiversity loss, loss of natural habitat and possible future heat island and water supply problems.  Turkey wants another vast airport, perhaps able to take up to 150 million passengers per year, partly to boost its chances of getting the Olympics in 2024. The busiest airport in the world now, Atlanta, handles about 95 million passengers per year.  A short video shows the ongoing environmental destruction, during the building of the airport.


Turkey plans to build a 6-runway mega airport near Istanbul to be one of the world’s largest

Turkey is planning to build one of the world’s biggest airports, and one larger than anything in Europe, costing some $5bn.  It wants to make Istanbul a global hub and boost its chances of getting the Olympics in 2020. Turkey is well situated geographically for traffic between the USA and Europe, and the Far East. It is therefore in competition with other Middle East and Gulf countries, which are also building mega-sized airports, such as Dubai and Doha (capital of Qatar). A tender will be held in may for the Turkish airport.  This would be the third airport for Istanbul, which already has Ataturk airport, and Sabiha airport – which handle around 45 million and 15 million passengers respectively per year. The new airport will be near the Black Sea, and is anticipated to be able to cope with 150 million passengers per year. By contrast, Heathrow deals with some 69 million, and Atlanta – the world’s busiest airport – handles some 90 million per year. The plans are for the new 6 runway airport to be open by 2017.