iGA Istanbul Airport planning ‘year of investments’

IGA Istanbul Airport has outlined its plans for 2024, with CEO, Selahattin Bilgen, promising that it will be a “year of investments”.

Speaking during the Turkish gateway’s annual press conference, Bilgen stated that the airport invested €160 million in 2023 and would increase that to €656.5 million this year.

He also revealed the airport’s key targets for 2024 with regards to route development, runways, sustainability and passenger satisfaction.

Bilgen revealed that the airport’s targets for 2024 included:

Increasing passengers numbers

Announcing that its passenger target for 2024 is 85 million, Bilgen stated that iGA Istanbul Airport continues to grow its passenger traffic with more passengers every day.

“We plan to increase the number of flights to 532,000 in 2024,” he stated, highlighting that the airport plans to increase the number of passengers by 12.77%.

Additional airlines

Bilgen revealed that iGA will welcome a total of 11 new airlines by the end of 2024.

He said that he believed that the continually rising number of carriers signified “iGA Istanbul Airport establishing leadership in the global aviation industry.”

The CEO noted that iGA Istanbul Airport ranks among the world’s top three airports regarding the number of served airline companies.”

Upgraded runways

According to Bilgen, the airport plans to implement the first triple parallel runway operation in Europe in 2024.

He explained: “We will break new ground among ICAO member nations with our triple independent runway operations.

“We are targeting operations with the highest efficiency and capacity, after the USA. With this method, our 120 ATM/h (hourly air traffic capacity) capacity can potentially exceed 148 ATM/h.

“This capacity increase in air traffic will play an essential role in our airport exceeding its contract’s 150 million passenger target and reaching 200 million passengers without any additional runway investment following Phase 5.”

Increased Investment

Talking about iGA Istanbul Airport’s 2024 investment plans, Bilgen said: We will invest €35 million for the General Aviation Terminal, which we plan to complete at the end of the year, and we hope to invest €146.4 million in the Eskişehir GES Project [solar power project], which we will also complete by the end of the year.

“With the 199.32 MWe unlicensed SPP (Solar Power Plant) to be established on an area of 3,000,000 square metres by iGA Havalimanı İşletmesi AŞ in Eskişehir, iGA will be the first airport in the world to meet all of its electricity needs with renewable energy.

“We anticipate an annual energy production of 340.446.833 kWh/year through this plant. For the Hilton Istanbul Airport, which we plan to complete in the first quarter of 2025, we have an investment target of €25.6 million this year.

“We aim to invest a total of €656.5 million in 2024,  with a total investment of €331.2 million planned for the construction of the East-West runway and the North-South backup runway in 2024.”

Cargo expansion

iGA Istanbul Airport is already significant centre in terms of air cargo operations and claims to boast a cargo handling area that is close to three times that of Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world’s busiest cargo airports.

Bilgen added: “There are currently 14 scheduled cargo airline companies that are actively operating at the airport, and our current infrastructure could reach a capacity of 5.5 million tons, at an impressive level of 1.4 million square metre.”

The airport also announced its co-operation with Trendyol and FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company on a 23,000-square-metre facility in the iGA Istanbul Airport Cargo Zone.

It is expected to be a hub that will integrate operations on three continents, providing strategic connectivity between Asia and Africa.

Reducing emissions

Bilgen reminded press conference attended that the airport’s mission statement was ‘Our Focus is the World, Our Goal is the Future’, which ensured that is committed to achieving Net Zero CO2 Emissions.

Indeed, he revealed that the gateway’s target is to reduce its emissions by 45% in six years compared to the base year.

“We will achieve a 73% emission reduction in 2040 and reach the Net Zero Emission target in 2050,” assured Bilgen.

“With our waste recycling programme, we are determined to achieve our zero emission targets by 2050, taking concrete steps such as reducing waste emissions by 50% and converting 50% of our vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.”

He noted that iGA Istanbul Airport has already achieved significant success in the ACI Airports Carbon Accreditation programme by reaching Level 4 in three years.

IST’s impact on aviation industry

Bilgen noted: “Since we started operations in 2019, we have increased the number of flights from 329,876 [per annum] to 505,968 at the end of 2023, and thereby the number of passengers from nearly 53 million to 76 million, breaking records for both daily flights and passenger numbers in the summer.

“Turkey as a destination has also seen a boost in tourism, becoming the fourth country in the world to host the highest number of tourists. We are so thrilled to be able to contribute to Turkey’s national economy and to our citizens through this sector.”

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