Turkish Cargo will start fully belly operations at Istanbul Airport from 2 March but will continue running freighter services into Istanbul Ataturk Airport until later in the year.
The air cargo carrier, which will be carrying out its operations on an area of 165,000 square metres at Istanbul Airport during the first phase, will have a cargo handling capacity of four million tonnes once all phases are completed.
Istanbul Airport operator IGA reported last week that the airport will start full passenger operations on 3 March replacing the current Istanbul Atatürk Airport which will be closed for scheduled passenger flights once it fully opens.
The €7.4 billion gateway was opened “softly” on 29 October last year by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and until now it has only been operated by Turkish Airlines who has phased in various routes.
Investment will continue in Istanbul Airport and rise to €10.5 billion once all phases are completed.
In phase one, the airport will be spread over 41.5 million square metres, compared to capacity-stretched Ataturk which covers only 12 million square metres.
Istanbul Airport has one terminal and will operate two runways initially. The plan is to add a third runway in 16 months, taking the passenger capacity to 135mppa – double the capacity of Ataturk.
After other development phases take place it will eventually see another terminal added, with six runways possible sometime from 2026-28.
IGA has the concession to run the airport for 25 years when it will be handed back to the government. As part of the deal it will pay the Turkish government €1 billion a year.