March 12 2019  |  Airline & Terminal News

Turkish Airlines preps for move to Istanbul Airport

By Rachel Debling

On April 5 at 3 a.m. local time, Turkish Airlines will begin its daunting 45-hour move from Atatürk Airport to Istanbul Airport.

In order to accommodate the transition, both airports will be closed for all scheduled passenger flights between 2:00 am and 2:00 pm on April 6.

The last flight carrying passengers from Atatürk Airport will be destined for Singapore. Following the airline's transition to its new home, flight operations will begin at Istanbul Airport on April 6 at 2:00 pm, with the first scheduled flight headed for Ankara Esenboğa. From that point, the number of flights from Istanbul Airport will increase in scheduled stages.

Approximately 47,300 tons will be carried to Istanbul Airport from Atatürk Airport over the course of the nearly two-day journey, including more than 10,000 pieces of equipment, equal to the freight of 5,000 trucking rigs. These rigs will move approximately 400,000 kms, the same distance as 10 times the circumference of the Earth. To help with this massive endeavor, over 1,800 personnel will be involved in the operation.

Leading up to the event, Turkish Airlines' passenger flights to and from Istanbul Airport were listed under IATA code ISL. However, after the move, as of 3:00 am on April 6, Atatürk Airport’s IST code will be given to Istanbul Airport, and Atatürk Airport will use the ISL code for its operation of cargo and VIP passenger flights.

M. İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines’ Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, said in a statement: “The biggest move in aviation history is about to take place. The combined size of the equipment we are going to transfer would cover 33 football pitches. After this great move, which will be watched by the entire world, we will wake up to a new morning. I convey my hopes that it will bring a great fortune to both our country and company.”

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