Istanbul bid to build worlds largest airport

Authorities in Turkey have revealed plans to construct the world’s biggest airport, which would have a capacity of 150 million passengers a year.

This is 60 million more than Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is the busiest across the globe at present. The deadline for bids to build the airport in tourist hotspot Istanbul is 3 May, according to Transport Minister Binali Yildirim.

If the contract were to be awarded, a six-runway hub will be built on 77 million square metres of land close to Istanbul – at a cost of $5.6bn. The build would be a four-stage project. An annual capacity of 90 million passengers is planned for the first stage, to be completed in 2017.

Following completion of the final stage, the airport would be operational with an annual capacity of 150 million. It would be Istanbul’s third airport, joining Ataturk, which handles 45 million passengers a year, and Sabiha, which handles 15 million. “It is obvious a new airport is needed,” Mr Yildirim said.

The Mediterranean country is attracting increasing numbers of foreign tourists every year. Some 31.5m tourists flocked to Turkey in 2011, ranking the country as sixth most popular tourist destination in the world, according to UNWTO World Tourism Board.

Antalya, Turkey’s biggest international sea resort, was the biggest tourist magnet in 2011 – but Istanbul was hot on its heels and is expected to experience a wave of fresh interest in 2013. This is partially down to the latest instalment in the James Bond franchise: searches to filming location Istanbul soared by 171% in the month of its release compared to the same period the previous year – and that’s just travellers from the UK! Mr Yildirim added that the plans would allow Turkish Airlines to further expand its operations and would help boost the country’s bid for the 2020 Olympics. Whether you are planning to visit Turkey or any other overseas destination in 2013, remember to take out travel insurance before you leave.

Date Created: 25 January 2013

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