Turkey will open Istanbul’s third airport by early 2018, the State Airports Management General Directorate director-general Serdar Hüseyin Yildirim has said denying reports of delay.
There has been a speculation that the opening of the airport could be delayed.
Today’s Zaman quoted Yildirim as saying: "There will be no delay in the third airport. I was there two weeks ago.
"We had an inspection and what we saw was that the work is progressing effectively and according to schedule.
"We are planning to start operations in the first quarter of 2018, to have the first takeoff and landing [then]. This will be the first phase."
The $30bn airport is expected to have a passenger capacity of around 150 million.
The airport is being constructed by Turkish joint venture Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyon Consortium, and will be completed in four phases.
Covering the construction of two runways and the main terminal, the first phase is likely to be completed in 42 months. Upon completion of all phases, the airport is slated to have six runways and four terminals.
Three state-owned deposit banks have agreed to finance €3.5bn out of the total €4.5bn needed for the first-phase of construction of the airport.
Construction of the airport has been shadowed by controversies including the publishing of a report that claimed that out of the total 2.5 million trees in the area, 657,950 will need to be cut indispensably and 1.8 million will have to be moved to other places.
Local residents and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the new airport saying it will cause serious damage to the environment as it is being constructed on a forested land.