By Ugur Aslanhan
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey is working to raise the number of its air passengers to 450 million annually, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan said on Saturday.
Over the last 15 years Turkey saw the number of annual air passengers ballon from 15 million to 210 million, Turhan told an aviation sector event in Istanbul, Turkey's tourism and aviation hub.
He stressed that in 2018, 4.3 billion passengers used airways worldwide, while 35% of the globe's trade and 90% of its e-commerce were done via airways.
"The aviation sector became a key factor of global development," he said.
He added that Turkey, particularly Istanbul, has become one of the world's biggest transit centers.
Turhan also said that Istanbul Airport will make a huge contribution to Istanbul becoming a global financial center.
The first phase of the mega Istanbul Airport, with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers, opened last October.
At full annual capacity of 200 million passengers -- with the completion of all four phases with six runways by 2028 -- Istanbul Airport is set to become a global aviation hub, with flights to over 350 destinations around the world.
After its completion, the airport will serve 250 aviation companies worldwide with a capacity for 2,000 planes to take off and land daily.
* Writing by Gokhan Ergocun