President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Transportation Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu open Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport's second runway on December 25, 2023

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport’s Second Runway Officially Opened, Doubling Capacity

In a ceremony attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport’s long-awaited second runway was officially opened today, marking a significant milestone in Turkey’s aviation infrastructure development.

President Erdoğan, speaking at the opening ceremony, stated that with the addition of the new runway, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport would be capable of accommodating more than 85 million passengers annually. He emphasized that the airport was constructed in line with the vision set forth by the 8th President of Turkey, Turgut Özal, and was designed as the first step of the Advanced Technology Industrial Park and Airport Project (ITEP).

Since its inauguration in 2001, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport has evolved into not only Istanbul’s but also the entire region’s aviation hub, providing essential services to both domestic and international travelers. President Erdoğan highlighted the airport’s critical role in the development of business and tourism markets nationwide, acknowledging the challenges posed by increasing air and passenger traffic over the years.

To address these challenges, Erdoğan mentioned that the “build-operate-transfer” model was implemented in 2009 to introduce a new terminal building. Simultaneously, in 2010, another aspect of the ITEP project was realized with the establishment of the Istanbul Technology Development Zone (Teknopark Istanbul), which has since become one of Turkey’s most important technology hubs.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

President Erdoğan emphasized that Sabiha Gökçen International Airport’s utilization rate and passenger traffic have consistently risen. He stated, “In 2021, our airport served 25 million passengers with approximately 181,000 flight movements on domestic and international routes. In 2022, this number reached 31 million passengers. In the first 11 months of 2023, with 208,000 flight movements, the passenger count rose by 21% compared to the same period last year, reaching 34 million. Today, Sabiha Gökçen is the third busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic, following Istanbul Airport and Antalya Airport. We anticipate that by the end of the year, the number of passengers traveling through our airport will exceed 37 million.”

Sabiha Gökçen Airport's Second Runway Inaugurated

Erdoğan also pointed out that with the new runway in operation, Sabiha Gökçen Airport would have the capacity to handle more than 85 million passengers annually. He stated, “Istanbul Airport is recognized as one of the best airports in Europe and the world. Our airport received five awards just last week. The same applies to our other investments, some have been criticized.”

Airbus A380 Can Now Land

The new 3,540-meter-long second runway at Sabiha Gökçen Airport is capable of accommodating the largest wide-body aircraft, including Airbus A380. Airbus A380 is a full-length double-deck aircraft that has a typical seating for 525 passengers, with a maximum certified capacity of 853 passengers.

In addition to the runway, the airport’s infrastructure facilities, including three taxiways, a medium apron with a capacity of 62 aircraft, a cargo apron with a capacity of 40 aircraft, an air traffic control tower, a technical block, a fire station, and a garage building, have been modernized with state-of-the-art technology, covering an area of 19,000 square meters.

The 91-meter-tall Air Traffic Control Tower, equipped with all the latest air traffic systems, has been operational 24/7 since January 9, 2023, ensuring seamless and safe operations.

Çukurova Airport to Open in January 2024

President Erdoğan also announced plans for the upcoming inauguration of Çukurova Airport in the following month. Çukurova Airport will serve the provinces of Mersin and Adana, as well as the rest of the region of Çukurova.

He stated, “We aim to open Çukurova Airport next month. Infrastructure work for Bayburt Gümüşhane Airports, which have been completed, will be inaugurated within 2025. Project work for Trabzon New Airport is ongoing. We are increasing the capacity of Antalya Airport from 35 million passengers to 80 million annually.”

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu stressed that the new runway would maximize the airport’s air traffic capacity by providing the most efficient use for landing operations, while the existing runway would be used primarily for takeoffs. He commented, “This will double the air traffic capacity of Sabiha Gökçen Airport, ensuring its optimal use.”

The opening of Sabiha Gökçen Airport’s second runway marks a significant advancement in Turkey’s aviation infrastructure, poised to further bolster the country’s position as a key aviation hub in the region and a gateway to the world.


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