By Gokhan Ergocun and Ugur Arslanhan
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey's national flag carrier opened five operational facilities in Istanbul's new airport, the company announced on Tuesday.
Maintenance, repair, cargo, cabin interior products, and unit load facilities were launched on 50,000-square-meter (some 538,000 square feet), Turkish Airlines said in a written statement.
Some other facilities will be opened on 150,000-square-meter (some 1,614,000 square feet) before March, it added.
Ilker Ayci, chairman of the board of directors and the executive committee, said that Istanbul Airport will be a milestone for the Turkish aviation sector.
"We built our facilities with a high capacity in the Istanbul Airport by planning next 25 years," Ayci stated.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan said that the number of passengers reached 210 million in Turkish aviation sector, with 205,000 employment.
"The most important player of this story is Turkish Airlines. It will continue to be successful,” he added.
The Istanbul Airport, of which first phase was opened on Oct. 29, has an annual capacity of 90 million passengers.
The annual capacity will rise to around 150-200 million passengers after the competition of its second phase by 2028.
With the second phase of the airport, Turkish Airline will have a huge campus -- 700,000-square-meter.
Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, currently has 333 aircraft, including passenger and cargo planes, and flies to 306 destinations in 124 countries.