'World's largest airport' planned for Turkey

25th Jan 2013

Travellers jetting off to Turkey to see historic Istanbul, the city where west meets east, could one day be touching down at the world's biggest airport.

The six-runway facility is to be developed on a swathe of land along the Black Sea coast and is set to cost some £3.5 billion.

The new facility will eventually put Istanbul's famous Grand Bazaar and Blue Mosque - popular with travellers taking city breaks - within easy reach of some 150 million passengers a year, dwarfing the 90 million a year handled by Atlanta, currently the world's biggest airport.

The first of four stages is set to be operational by 2017 with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers, Turkey's transport minister Binali Yildirim said.

Phase one's capacity will be double that offered by Istanbul's Ataturk airport and six times that of Sabiha airport.

Mr Yildirim said it was hoped the airport would boost tourism as the country prepared its bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

He said with traveller numbers soaring over the past decade and the ability to expand Ataturk airport limited, the new facility was needed. He added: "At full capacity the new airport will be the largest in the world in terms of passengers."

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