Istanbul’s new airport will not become fully operational on March 3, 2019, as previously announced.
A spokesperson confirmed the opening is now scheduled for April 7.
The airport will take over all commercial flights from the city’s overcrowded Ataturk Airport and will then take on its IATA code IST. Hurriyet reports that the transfer will now begin on April 5 at 0300 local time and last 45 hours.
The delay means passengers should check with their airline for more details if they are planning to fly into or out of Istanbul during March or April.
Qatar Airways was previously displaying a notice on its website stating that flights to Istanbul Ataturk would be temporarily transferred to Istanbul’s third airport, Sabiha Gokcen Airport, between March 1-2 due to the airport relocation. We have contacted several airlines to ask for their new schedules and will update this article with more information shortly.
When completed, the $12 billion airport could handle up to 200 million annual passengers, though it is initially expected to handle around 90 million.
Some media outlets are speculating that the delay is due to fears that if the airport transfer goes wrong, it could affect the ruling party’s performance in local elections on March 31.