Inside Istanbul’s $12 Billion Ataturk Airport

The $12 billion Ataturk Airport is Istanbul’s massive International Airport that was recently built. With a humongous area of about 1.4 million square feet, this new International airport is the world’s largest passenger terminal. The entire location covers an area of about 76.5 million and is the largest in the country. It was opened to the world in 2018 and, ever since, has been one of the fanciest airports globally.

İlker Aycı, the chairperson at Turkish Airlines, calls it a revolution in the aviation industry. It took about 42 months to finish building this masterpiece of architecture and design phase one, and a sum of about $12 billion was spent on it.

The Extraordinary Architectural Design Of Ataturk Airport

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The Ataturk Airport in Istanbul was designed by Grimshaw, a firm based in London. But the design is highly representative of the Ottoman legacy. The hall, which is part of the main transit, has a design inspired by the Bosphorus Strait.

The 1.4 million square feet terminal is quite exquisite in its architectural form. It has enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. There are potted plants placed all around for decorating the place, and there is a whole canopy of skylights. The ceiling looks otherworldly due to the beautiful starry skylights.

The air traffic control tower is about 90 meters high and is shaped like a tulip to stand out among the other extravagant structures. The airport is about 22 miles away from the city of Istanbul. It is shaped like a tulip to evoke the flower’s spirit, an important symbol in Turkish culture.

The Vast Divisions In Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport

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The new airport in Istanbul expands over more than 18,780 acres of land or about 818 million square feet. It has an air traffic control tower that spans over 5,000 square meters. There are about 7 terminal gates for entering the airport. The initial plan was for the airport to have two parallel runways; the first one had a dimension of 3.750 by 60 meters, and the second one was 4.100 by 60 meters.

The airport began with two runways in phase one, but the ultimate target was to provide about six runways. The old Istanbul airport was one of the most crowded ones. After shifting to the new Ataturk, the target was to serve 90 million passengers annually in the first phase. Later this target increased to about 200 million. Plus, the Ataturk airport is known to be the biggest greenfield airport in the world.

There are about 228 passport control points and 143 passengers boarding bridges on the premises. Truly, this airport is a wonder of the world, setting new standards for future airports. There are 566 check-in counters so that despite being the busiest airport with a high amount of passenger traffic in the world, passengers can experience increased convenience.

A Host of Amenities

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Inspired by the Bosphorus Strait, a well-known waterway found in Turkey, the plan is to build about 592,000 square feet of ‘Duty-Free’ shop zone. This area will have about seven further divisions based on theme concepts like Family Palace, Style Beach, Fashion Garden, etc. Several brands shall be featured under these fancy themes. Moreover, there are also facilities available for holding official conferences and meetings at the Yotel.

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The fancy airport’s most well-known and attractive division is the Yotel, a boutique hotel with 451 rooms. The air-side access to this hotel will be in the Duty-free zone’s vicinity so that passengers can access the hotel directly instead of having to exit the airport premises. The Yotel will also have one land-side access; this is for passengers who have not boarded the flight or have not been through passport control and customs check.

In this colossal airport complex, several amenities will make the traveler’s journey as smooth as possible. There are numerous ATMs in case passengers ever need to withdraw cash. These ATMs are both on the arrival floors and the departure grounds for domestic and international traveling. There are numerous help desks to assist passengers with any difficulties that they might face. There is also complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity all over the airport.

A huge car parking and car rental service are available at the new Istanbul airport as well. The food court is also gigantic, with several different bars, fast food outlets, restaurants, and cafes. A room has been solely dedicated to children to play around safely; there is also a prayer room and a smoking room that offer adequate privacy. A host of public transport options make traveling to the airport from the city quite convenient. These include public buses, taxis, and shuttles.

What contributes to the success of the $12 billion Ataturk Airport is the urban construction and development venture that has been taken up in the surrounding areas of the airport. This includes offices, schools, hospitals, hotels, residential complexes, shopping malls, and the like. The building of this township is to be carried out following eco-friendly standards. Another factor that may considerably contribute to its success is the popularity and unparalleled service of the famous Turkish Airlines.

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Sources: Sam Chui, Make it, World Travel Guide, Architectural Digest

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