ISTANBUL: September 26, 2018. The Turkish Air Force aerobatic team Turkish Stars has performed a spectacular airshow at Istanbul New Airport (IGA) with a Turkish Airlines B777 passenger plane. Captain of the aircraft was Chief Flight Operations Officer Aykut Alpa.

Staff from Turkish Airlines, ground handlers HAVAŞ, Celebi and Turkish Ground Services are testing the operation of Istanbul New Airport prior to the transfer of airlines from the city’s Ataturk Airport beginning on October 29.

The Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT) process includes a total of 9,000 staff and 10 Turkish Airlines aircraft in three test phases. The first stage at the end of September includes 1,000 trial passengers, 2,000 pieces of luggage and 800 staff, 50 ground vehicles and two aircraft.

turkDuring the first week of October 3,000 people, 6,000 pieces of luggage, 1,000 staff, 150 ground vehicles and three aircraft will be used. In the following week, the numbers will increase to 5,000 passengers, 10,000 pieces of luggage, 1,000 staff, 200 vehicles and five aircraft.

According to airport operator IGA, the objective is to evaluate the general readiness of facilities, systems, procedures, equipment and trained operation personnel: “The transfer to İstanbul New Airport will be the biggest ever airport transfer in the world. There have been no airports transferred further than 45 km in the world,” said airport general manager and CEO H. Kadri Samsunlu.

“Since 2016, we have been meticulously carrying out our work regarding the transfer to İstanbul New Airport. At this point, we have finished training the airlines, particularly Turkish Airlines, ground services, and other stakeholders, all in order to ensure their orientation to the airport in the operation preparation process. With this experience, we can make people say ‘Turks do it best,’” he added.

Last July IGA signed 25-year leases valued at €250 million with cargo operators MNG, PTT, Çelebi Ground Handling, HAVAŞ, Sistem Logistics and Bilin Logistics tol build and operate facilities covering 200,000 in the airport's new Cargo City and Ground Services Campus.

The new Cargo City will cover 1.4 million and enable the simultaneous operation of 35 widebody aircraft according to IGA, which is is a consortium of five Turkish companies - Cengiz, Kolin, Limak, MAPA and Kalyon.

When complete in 2028, the operator says the mega hub will support 150 airlines operating from six runways with an annual capacity of 200 million passengers and 5.5. million tonnes of freight flying to more than 350 destinations worldwide.

Meanwhile the airline has announced it set up in June a subsidiary, THY Uluslararası Yatırım ve Taşımacılık A.Ş., with an initial capital of TRY10 million to invest in the cargo and courier sector both domestically and internationally.