It has been called ‘The New Silk Road’ and Turkish Airlines is promoting Istanbul’s new airport as an aerial bridge between east and west as it expands to take advantage of Turkey’s location to become one of the world’s largest carriers.
The new airport has already had its soft opening, but is expected to be fully operational in the next few months to handle Turkish Airlines’ flights, including the ones to and from Kathmandu. Situated 35km northwest of the city near the Black Sea coastline, the $35 billion airport will have six runways and a capacity to serve 200 million passengers a year when it is fully completed by 2023.
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“The new airport was a must to accommodate Turksih Airlines’ growth plans, and we hope to give passengers to and from Nepal much more comfort and flexibility with better connectivity when the airport opens fully soon,” says Turkish’s Nepal manager Abdullah Tuncer Kececi (pictured, above).
More than 90% of the passengers on Turkish between Kathmandu and Istanbul are transit, and the new airport is expected to make transfers much more convenient compared to the current, congested Ataturk airport. Even at the existing airport, nearly three-quarters of all flights are operated by Turkish and the figure is expected to be higher at the new hub.
Turkish Airlines is on an ambitious expansion drive augmenting its current fleet of 300 aircraft to 500 by 2023. The airline currently flies to 306 destinations worldwide, and will be adding 100 more cities in the next four years. The new airport is already operating some of its daily flights to London, Frankfurt, Munich, etc on a trial basis, but will make an overnight shift of all flight operations from the old to new airport by April 5-6.