Istanbul to unveil worlds biggest airport

first_img By: The Associated Press Istanbul to unveil “world’s biggest” airport Tags: Airport, Istanbul Share Monday, October 29, 2018 ISTANBUL — Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held plenty of grand opening ceremonies in his 15 years at Turkey’s helm. Today, Turkey’s president will unveil one of his prized jewels – Istanbul New Airport – a megaproject that has been dogged by concerns about labour rights, environmental issues and the country’s weakening economy.Erdogan is opening what he claims will eventually become the world’s largest air transport hub on the 95th anniversary of Turkey’s establishment as a republic. It’s a symbolic launch, as only limited flights will begin days later and a full move won’t take place until the end of the year.Tens of thousands of workers have been scrambling to finish the airport to meet Erdogan’s Oct. 29 deadline. Protests in September over poor working conditions and dozens of construction deaths have highlighted the human cost of the project.Istanbul New Airport, on shores of the Black Sea, will serve 90 million passengers annually in its first phase. At its completion in 10 years, it will occupy nearly 19,000 acres and serve up to 200 million travellers a year with six runways. That’s almost double the traffic at world’s biggest airport currently, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in July“This airport is going to be the most important hub between Asia and Europe,” Kadri Samsunlu, head of the 5-company consortium Istanbul Grand Airport, told reporters Thursday.The airport’s interiors nod to Turkish and Islamic designs and its tulip-shaped air traffic control tower won the 2016 International Architecture Award. It also uses mobile applications and artificial intelligence for customers, is energy efficient and boasts a high-tech security system.All aviation operations will move there at the end of December when Istanbul’s main international airport, named after Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is closed down. Ataturk Airport now handles 64 million people a year. On the Asian side of the city, Sabiha Gokcen Airport handled 31 million passengers last year. It will remain open.Erdogan is expected to announce the official name of the new airport later today, part of his plan to transform Turkey into a global player.Turkish Airlines will launch its first flights out of the new airport to three local destinations: Ankara, Antalya and Izmir. It will also fly to Baku and Ercan in northern Cyprus.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?Nihat Demir, head of a construction workers’ union, said the rush to meet Erdogan’s deadline has been a major cause of the accidents and deaths at the site that employs 36,000 people.The Dev-Yapi-Is union has identified 37 worker deaths at the site and claimed more than 100 dead remain unidentified.Turkey’s Ministry of Labor has denied media reports about hundreds of airport construction deaths, saying in February that 27 workers had died at the site due to “health problems and traffic accidents.” It has not commented since then.Airport workers in September began a strike against poor working conditions, including unpaid salaries, bedbugs, unsafe food and inadequate transport to the site. Security forces rounded up hundreds of workers and formally arrested nearly 30, among them union leaders. The company said it was working to improve conditions. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img

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