Six months after an overnight shift from Istanbul’s old airport to its new one in a carefully choreographed ‘Great Move’, airlines and passengers flying through it appear to be getting used to the sheer size of the international hub, an airport bigger than the area of Kathmandu.
With three of its six runways and four of the five concourses compete, the airport at the edge of the Black Sea is well on its way to become the world’s busiest. Taking advantage of the airport’s location Turkey’s flag carrier will have a 500 aircraft fleet serving 400 cities around the world by 2025.
Most passengers flying Turkish Airlines to and from Kathmandu transit this 76 million sq m terminal with five piers and 145 boarding gates. Disembarking in gate F17 and connecting to a flight out of A14, for example, means taking into account the walking time between the two ramps and also security check.
But once upstairs in the transit lounge, there is plenty of help – including from a friendly multilingual robot with a perpetual smile that can help passengers find gates and facilities in the main terminal family-friendly lounges and snooze rooms make it easy to pass the time.
“The new airport was a must to accommodate Turkish Airlines’ growth plans, and we hope to give passengers to and from Nepal much more comfort and flexibility with better connectivity during Visit Nepal 2020,” says Turkish’s Nepal manager Abdullah Tuncer Kececi.
Istanbul airport’s architects have ensured it is different from other modern airports by giving it a Turkish ambience. The duty free area is laid out to resemble the Misir Carsisi spice market in the city with stalls selling baklava, cheeses, dried fruits, and other delights. Turkey being a gastronomic superpower, the transit lounge has a enormous range of Ottoman style eateries from cafes to dumpling kiosks. Nepalis will notice how much of our culinary and linguistic heritage is intertwined with Turkey, with familiar words like kebap, pilaff, köfte, halva.