Turkey on schedule to land world’s busiest airport

Getty Images | Anadolu Agency

Turkey is building what it claims will be the world's largest airport by passenger numbers.

The 'Istanbul New Airport' plans to accommodate 150 million passengers a year on its eventual completion, outstripping Atlanta International Airport which handled 101 million in 2015 according to the Airport Council International.

The same dataset shows in 2015 Dubai International Airport handled 78 million passengers while Heathrow pushed through 75 million travelers.

New Istanbul airport will be world's busiest

'Istanbul New' will be the city's third international airport; however Ataturk airport will be closed upon the scheduled opening of the new facility's first stage in February 2018.

A need for a more air capacity serving Istanbul was identified with both Ataturk and Sabiha Gökçen Airports unable to grow to meet demand.

A full 6-runway operation of the airport is not expected until 2028.

In 2013 a consortium of Turkish construction firms made the winning 22 billion euro ($29 billion) bid to build and then operate the facility for 25 years.

Limak Holding who lead the consortium estimated that around 10.3 billion euros will account for the build cost.

In December 2016 the full airport was estimated to be 40 percent complete by Istanbul Grand Airport Construction, the team in charge of the project.

Located on the Black Sea coast on the European side of Turkey, the airport will be 22 miles outside Istanbul and serve the city with rail, metro and bus links.

Designs released in January 2016 showed an air traffic control tower in the shape of a tulip, a traditional Turkish symbol.