Turkey’s new Istanbul Airport has served more than 41 million passengers—an average of 210,000 per day—since opening one year ago.

The airport has been operating at full capacity since April 6, when it took over total air traffic from former Atatürk Airport.

The new airport served 9.87 million domestic and nearly 30.6 million international passengers in the 12 months since its Oct. 29, 2018, opening.

The airport handled 256,521 flights, delivered 28 million pieces of baggage and transported 855,259 tons of cargo during the period.

“Some 310 aircraft on domestic and 932 aircraft on international flights land and take off on average on a daily basis,” Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan told the state-run Anadolu Agency Oct. 28.

The minister said construction of a third north-south runway is expected to be completed in June 2020, which will allow the airport to implement a “triple parallel runway operation.”

To date, 70 airlines operate from Istanbul Airport.

Eight International airlines have started flying from the airport for the first time since reaching full capacity: Air Albania, China Southern Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, India’s IndiGo, Tunisia’s Nouvelair, China’s Sichuan Airlines, Algeria’s Tassili Airlines and Baghdad-based UR Airlines. In addition, Transavia France was scheduled to start flight operations in October.

Several airlines from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Far East have already doubled their frequencies.

The new airport, which will have an eventual annual capacity of 200 million passengers, serves 130 destinations in 60 countries within a 3-hr. flight distance.

Istanbul’s second airport—Sabiha Gökçen International, on the Asian side of the city—expects to handle 36 million passengers this year.

Atatürk Airport remains open for cargo and VIP passenger flights. In addition, Turkish Airlines operates regular maintenance ferry flights between its large hangar facilities at Atatürk to the new airport.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at