The Turkish Government has broken ground on Istanbul’s third airport, which involves an investment of approximately $30bn.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed the first stone for the multi-billion-dollar airport project, which is expected to become one of the busiest air hubs.
The new facility is being built at a distance of 50km north of Istanbul on an area of 7,700ha and will reportedly be able to accommodate 500 aircrafts.
The first stage of the construction is scheduled to complete on 29 October 2017, while the airport is expected to be completed in 2018.
The facility is being built by Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyon Consortium, a Turkish joint venture that won the project tender in May and obtained a 25-year lease to build and operate the planned airport.
Following completion, the new airport is expected to be capable of handling 150 million passengers a year, as well as significantly reduce aircraft traffic on the European side of the city.
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The airport will feature 165 passenger boarding bridges, three maintenance buildings, four terminals connected with a railway system, eight air traffic control towers, six runways, 16 taxiways and a 6.5m² airport apron.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "The biggest airport of the world and six continents is going to rise here."
The new airport is expected to rival Dubai-based Al Maktoum International airport, which opened in October 2013 and is expected to accommodate 160 million passengers a year.
Construction plans of the third airport have raised concerns among environmentalists, who claim that the facility located in a heavily forested area near Terkos Lake may have impact on the lake, which is one of Istanbul’s six main reservoirs for drinking water.