Additional capacity from a new airport in Istanbul is crucial to the continued growth at Turkish Airlines, says its president and chief executive Temel Kotil, just before the start of a tender for its construction.

While saying that 24h operations at the city's main Atatürk airport "is nice", Kotil says "it is crowded today, which is a problem for us, a problem for everybody".

Speaking at the Airline Business's Alliance, Joint Ventures and Partnerships conference in Istanbul on 24 September, he said the tender competition for the construction of the new airport is due to start soon and a site has already been identified on the European side of the city near to the Black Sea coast.

The new airport will span over 66km² (25 miles²), which he says will be approximately six times larger than Atatürk and will feature five runways. To be built in two phases, Kotil says that after the first stage, which is due for completion in 2016, the airport will be able to accommodate around 100 million passengers. This could potentially grow to 150 million, he says.

However, Kotil is adamant that growth at his airline will not be put on hold until the new airport is built and it will continue to expand in the years leading up to the opening of the new airport.

Source: Flight Daily News