Turkish Airlines move to Istanbul Airport: New airport on track to be the world's biggest

Starting at 3am on Friday, April 5, Turkish Airlines will make the biggest logistical operation in aviation history, transferring from its old base, Ataturk Airport, to the sparkling new Istanbul Airport. The monumental move, involving people, hardware, code changes and an enormous amount of attention to detail, will take 45 hours non-stop. It's been much anticipated: it was previously announced the move would take place on December 31, then March 3.

The home carrier moving in fully is a significant milestone for the airport, the first phase of which opened on October 29 last year, with capacity for 90 million passengers annually. Once the second phase is completed in 2023, that will rise to 200 million people travelling to 350 destinations across six runways, making it the world's biggest airport. (Though a new Beijing airport in the pipeline may make that title short-lived.)

With such gravitas in mind, Grimshaw Architects, whose other projects include London's Waterloo Station, in collaboration with an international team, designed a "grand gateway" referencing the culture and history of Istanbul.

But with all those people and flights, simplicity of design is key. "The terminal is organised to give passengers a coherent transition from landside to airside in an environment that is light, spacious and easy to navigate," the architects stated. "Arranged over 2½ levels, with a generous central hall connecting to piers at each end, the simplicity of its organisation and ease of navigation belies its size."

A stunning feature in the clean arrangement is the vaulted ceilings and skylights that focus beams of sunlight to illuminate key areas in the terminal, such as check-in, security, customs and retail.

Ataturk will continue operation as a cargo hub.

See igairport.com 

See also: World's busiest air routes: 9 million passengers fly Melbourne-Sydney

See also: The best stopover airports between Australia and Europe

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