The largest cargo companies in the world are in a rush to secure spots at Istanbul’s new airport in-making, according to Turkish Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan.
The new Istanbul airport, which will open on Oct. 29, will become a center for transportation along with passenger traffic, the minister told state-run Anadolu Agency in a recent interview.
The first phase of the airport on the northern part of the city’s European side will start operations on the Republic Day, the anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.
The minister named UPS, DHL, and FedEx among the companies that have applied for the registering of rental spots at the airport.
“Giant companies have started submitting their applications,” he said.
Following workshops and meetings with related institutions and companies, a new regulation has been in the pipeline to boost the productivity of the idle cargo capacity of the current airports across the country and to make the new airport one of the leading cargo hubs of the world, attracting major local and international companies, he said.
The companies that want to take part in the project will not be obliged to a majority of Turkish ownership, he added.
When it is completed, the new airport will assume most of the passenger traffic from the Atatürk International Airport, hosting 250 airlines flying to more than 350 destinations, making it one of the world’s largest transport hubs, according to officials.
The airport will initially have an annual passenger capacity of 90 million, and officials plan 3,500 landings and take-offs daily.
The initial annual cargo capacity of the airport is estimated at 5.5 million tons. It will offer jobs to 225,000 people, according to Anadolu Agency.
The airport will host an aviation, space and technology festival between Sept. 20 and Sept. 23, weeks before its planned opening.
Yusuf Akçayoğlu, the CEO of the Istanbul Grand Airport, said in March that “an army of 36,000” people have been working non-stop to fulfill the deadline for opening the first phase of the facility.
The final name of the airport has not been announced yet.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pledged to build a large garden called the “People’s Garden” in the area of the current Atatürk Airport, the largest in Turkey today, upon completion of the new airport.
Among the president’s election promises on the eve of the upcoming June 24 snap elections are the opening of people’s gardens in several cities.