Turkey is all set to launch a tender for the construction of a new $5.6bn airport in Istanbul on 24 January 2013.
The project is part of the Turkish Government's efforts to convert the country's biggest city into an international transportation hub, according to Turkey Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
Planned to be built along the Black Sea coast on the European side of the city, the new airport will add capacity in Istanbul, which is needed given that Turkey has handled more than 130 million passengers in the past decade at its current airports.
Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, which is country's largest airport, and the smaller Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the Anatolian side of Istanbul are currently not able to meet passenger demand.
Turkey's flag carrier, Turkish Airlines has also been pressing for a third airport as it is currently planning to expand its fleet of 200 jets.
Planned to be built in public private partnership, the project will be 80% owned by the public, with 20% acquired through nationalisation.
The three runway airport will be constructed on build-operate-transfer model. To be executed in three phases, construction is expected to start in 2014 and be finished within three to four years.
The airport will have an initial capacity of handling 100 million passengers per year after completion of the first phase in 2015, while the capacity will further increase to 150 million after completion of the entire project.
Expected bidders for the third airport include TAV Airports, which has operating rights for Ataturk airport until 2021, and Limak Holding, which operates Sabiha Gokcen airport and Alarko Holding.
Turkey expected to welcome around 50 million tourists per year by 2023.