Istanbul’s new airport is officially delayed. The yet-to-be-named facility was due to begin operations at the end of October, tied to the IATA seasonal schedule changes. Instead operations are now slated to begin at the end of the year, a delay of two months.
DHMI (state airport authority) just announced that the opening will be on the 29th of October as planned but the transfer of operations will be postponed to 30-31 December… Between 29th of October to 30th of December [Turkish Airlines] will place 2-3 aircraft at the new airport; not yet decided which routes these aircraft will operate but most of them will be domestic routes and their main aim is to test the new airport!
For other details which will be affected by this postponement including slots and code transfer we await official announcements from [authorities].
The new airport is designed to handle 90 million passengers annually in the initial phase, with room to grow up to 200 million per year when fully built out. Construction has been slowed in recent months by the arrest of hundreds of construction workers after protests around employment conditions. At least 27 workers have died during the construction process according to Turkey’s labor ministry.
The government is on the hook for financial penalties to be paid out related to financial losses tied to the delays. Given recent, significant weakening of the Turkish Lira under mounting debt (much of which is tied to construction projects like the new airport) it is unclear that the compensation will be sufficient.
Further updates to the timing adjustment are expected as information moves through official channels. Eurocontrol still shows the prior schedule, for example, though that is expected to change soon.