Tendering begins for ‘world’s biggest airport’ at Istanbul

By Kevin Rozario |

Turkey yesterday unveiled plans and outlined tendering procedures for a six-runway airport at Istanbul costing €7bn ($9.42bn) and having a capacity for 150m passengers, more than any other hub today.


The location for the 1.4m square metre gateway, on the European side of the city, will be to the north-west, between the villages Yenikoy and Akpınar. It will entail the building of “a new city”. The whole project will use a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model involving public-private sector cooperation says Turkey’s Minister of Transportation Binali Yildirim (below).


The projected space for the entire development is 77 million square metres and the MoT says that the new hub “is expected to be the largest in the world in terms of annual passenger capacity”.


The aim of the airport – whose €7bn cost excludes financing – is to propel Turkey into the top league of global transfer points between Western Europe and Asia putting it into direct competition with existing hubs in Europe and the Middle East as well as new airports like Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (formerly New Doha International Airport) which opens this April.



Traffic at Istanbul’s existing airports of Atatürk (pictured above) and Sabiha Gökçen has been soaring in recent years reaching 44.998m and 14.487m respectively in 2012, while flight traffic in Turkey as a whole has been outstripping many other countries in Europe (see chart right for 2011 and click to enlarge, Source: DHMI).


Yildirim is confident of further growth and, in a statement to potential bidders, he says: “We guarantee passengers for 12 years. This guarantee is 342m in total for departing and international transfer passengers.”


Turkey-based international airport operator, TAV Airports [which part owns ATÜ Duty Free-Ed] has already expressed interest, but tells TRBusiness,com that it will wait for official detailed information over the weekend before making any formal statement. Fraport, which has Turkish interests at Antalya Airport where The Nuance Group runs the duty free stores, will no doubt also be keen to review its options.


According to Turkey’s MoT, the winning bidder for the BOT tender will be decided based on the offer regarding the lease amount to be paid to Turkey’s General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMI) rather than the offer regarding the construction and operation periods.


The operating period will be 25 years starting after the completion of the first stage of airport construction (see below). Today Turkish national newspapers carried the tender announcement. The tender will be held on 3 May.


Once the contract award is made construction will take place in four stages, with the first stage expected to be completed within 42-48 months at maximum.



– Main terminal of 680sq m with 90m passenger capacity

– 2nd (satellite) terminal of 170sq m

– 88 passenger boarding bridges

– Car park with 12,000 vehicle capacity

– 3 runways that can handle large-body aircraft

– 8 parallel taxiways

– Apron of 4 million sq m

– 1 control tower

– Cargo terminal

– Other facilities (hospital, prayer room, power plant, waste treatment unit, fire brigade, etc)


–  Further runways and 3 more taxiways


– 3rd terminal of 500,000sq m with a 30m passenger capacity

– Extra parallel taxiways


– 4th terminal of 340,000sq m serving 30m passengers.


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