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Tuesday, May 11, 2021
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Turkey begins transfer to giant new Istanbul airport

Authorities plan to shift flights from the city’s Ataturk Airport, on the edge of the Sea of Marmara, to the new airport 30 km (20 miles) north on the Black Sea shores, in a mammoth 45-hour transfer operation that started on Friday.

Trucks carrying containers set out from Ataturk Airport at 0300 (0000GMT) on Friday and began entering the new Istanbul Airport at 0430 (0130GMT).

Some 47,300 tonnes of equipment are being transported by 686 trucks as part of the move. Turkish Airlines planes have begun flying without passengers from the old airport to the new one.

The $8 billion airport is one of several infrastructure mega-projects championed by President Tayyip Erdogan and will initially be able to handle 90 million passengers a year, a number which Turkey hopes to more than double by 2027.

That would make it the biggest in the world, measured against current airport operations globally.

The last passenger plane took off from Ataturk at 0200 (2300 GMT) on Saturday (April 6), heading to Singapore.

Commercial flights at both airports are set to be suspended between 0200 (2300GMT) and 1400 (1100GMT) on April 6, with the first flight after the 12-hour hiatus scheduled to be a Turkish Airlines departure to Ankara at 1400 (1100gmt) on April 6.

The main highways between the two airports are expected to be closed for up to 26 hours.

(Production: Bulent Usta, Yesim Dikmen)

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