By Tuba Sahin
ANKARA (AA) - The number of international flight passengers in Turkey surged 10.5% on an annual basis, reaching 84.8 million in the first nine months of 2019, the country's airport authority announced Tuesday.
However, the number of domestic passengers fell 12.7% year-on-year to hit 76.4 million in January-September, the General Directorate of the State Airports Authority (DHMI) data showed.
Nearly 161.5 million air travelers -- including transit passengers -- went through Turkish airports, down 1.9% during the same period.
The airports served nearly 1.6 million planes -- including overflights -- from January to September, a figure which remained unchanged from the same period last year.
DHMI data showed that cargo traffic was also down 15.4% annually to almost 2.5 million tons as of September-end.
The new Istanbul Airport, whose first phase officially opened last fall and which took over air traffic from the former main Ataturk Airport on April 6, was the busiest airport in the country hosting 35.6 million passengers and serving 222,435 planes.
The airport in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya followed with 29.3 million travelers, nearly 82% of which are international flight passengers.
Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Istanbul's main air hub on the city’s Asian side, was the third active airport, serving 26.6 million passengers.