By Ugur Aslanhan
ISTANBUL (AA) - The big switch from Ataturk Airport to the new mega-Istanbul Airport will start early Friday morning, Turkey’s transport and infrastructure minister said on Wednesday.
Starting on April 5 at 3.00 a.m. local time (0000GMT), the initial moving operation will take a total of 45 hours, Cahit Turhan told at a news conference in Istanbul.
Turhan said all flights at both airports will be cut off at the same time for a period of 12 hours.
"The last flight at Ataturk Airport will be done on April 6 at 2.00 a.m. local time [April 5, 2300GMT].
"Flights at Istanbul Airport will increase gradually as of April 6 at 2.00 p.m. local time [1100GMT]."
He told how currently some 300 planes take off and land at Ataturk Airport every day, while last year it served a total of 465,000 planes.
Within five years Istanbul Airport will rank second in the global list of airports serving the most passengers, Turhan said.
But once all its phases are completed, the airport will become a global aviation hub and rank first, he stressed.
Istanbul Airport, the “world's new hub", officially opened on Oct. 29, 2018, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.
* Writing by Tuba Sahin from Ankara