Is Erdogan’s airport dream turning into nightmare?

“I would not want any of my family members to even set foot in this airport”


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan enjoys talking about gigantic construction works, aiming to make Western powers and domestic enemies envious. Often referred to as mega infrastructure projects, the third Bosporus BridgeIstanbul Canal and the third international airport are his signature enterprises.

Erdogan inaugurated the new airport at a soft opening Oct. 29, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic. Named Istanbul New Airport (ISL), it aims to be the biggest hub in the world once it is fully operational.

Yet, when that day might actually come remains a mystery. The opening had been set for December. In January, a new date was announced: March 3. Around mid-February, another delay moved the opening to April. Despite all efforts, the airport suffered several canceled flights and even temporary suspensions. Some reports say contractors are walking away from the project.

A senior employee from Turkish Airlines told Al-Monitor, “We need hangars for cargo and facilities for catering services. The construction is nowhere close to completion. We don’t know when they will be done. It is not possible to fully operate before these facilities are completed.”

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