By Alan Dron, ATW Daily News
Istanbul New Airport (INA) has commissioned its first runway, a significant milestone as it prepares for opening in late October 2018.
INA, which will initially have three runways (with up to six planned as traffic grows), is replacing Istanbul's current main hub, Ataturk International (IST). INA's initial capacity will be 90 million passengers a year, with the ability to grow to as many as 200 million through a series of expansion phases, if required, up to 2030.
Ataturk is operating above its planned design capacity, at least partly because of the rapid growth over the past decade of Turkish Airlines. Passenger throughput in 2017 was 63.7 million, almost double 2010's figure.
INA's initial runway, which is 3,750 m. long and 60 m. wide, has been illuminated for the first time, the airport authority reported March 29. INA is installing what it describes as the world's largest and most sophisticated airfield ground lighting system, with more than 34,000 LED fixtures.
An "intelligent lighting" system is designed to make the visual guiding process easier, improving pilots' situational awareness by switching lights on and off according to information shared by airfield surveillance and aircraft tracking systems. This, the airport said, will allow for optimized aircraft routing to and from gates, a more efficient traffic flow, and an increase in safety.
INA reported March 29 that 80% of the airport's initial phase is now complete. "We are working day and night on this project that will put Turkey's stamp on the history of aviation," iGA Airports Construction CEO Yusuf Akçayoğlu said.
"We have recently finished the baggage system, which constitutes our airport's core. And now, runway number one is ready for takeoff and landing--with all the equipment required and in compliance with the relevant global standards. We are looking forward to delivering Istanbul Airport in its entirety in October."
INA will be served by 100 airlines flying to 350 passenger and cargo destinations.