Turkish experts term decrease in altitude level of new Istanbul airport as safety threat

10 December 2014 (Last Updated December 10th, 2014 18:30)

The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) says that a decrease in the altitude level of the planned third airport in Istanbul may result in making the airport non-functional and flights insecure.

The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) says that a decrease in the altitude level of the planned third airport in Istanbul may result in making the airport non-functional and flights insecure.

The country is planning to build its third international airport in Arnavutköy district as the capacities at the existing airports are not enough to meet the growing passenger traffic.

However, the elevation level of the new airport is likely to be decreased to reduce the amount of filling material necessary.

"Takeoffs and landings on the southern side of the airport will impossible with the revised altitude level, according to the international flight safety standards."

TMMOB has warned that decreasing the altitude to 70m from 105m, due to the high cost of removing soil might adversely affect the airport.

It also said that the construction of the third airport will harm the natural environment, plants and animals on 76.5km² of land where the airport will be built.

The TMMOB Istanbul Coordination Board report on the third airport stated: "The planned decrease in the altitude level of the airport to 70m from 105m will make the whole airport non-functional, as it is not possible for airplanes to take off from and land on the fields with an altitude level of 70m, according to international flight security criteria."

Hurriyet Daily News quoted TMMOB board spokesperson Süleyman Solmaz as saying: "This step was taken to decrease the soil filling amount to 420 million cubic metres from 2.5 billion cubic metres. Takeoffs and landings on the southern side of the airport will impossible with the revised altitude level, according to the international flight safety standards.

"Trimming the hills in the region may be a solution, but it is also not possible to trim the hills there as the third bridge path is now being built in that location. Therefore, the original 105m of the altitude level must not be changed."

Meanwhile, the consortium that won the airport construction contract has refuted these claims and described a revision to the altitude level as baseless.