The planned third airport of Istanbul will only reach its potential of 150 million passengers in the 2030s if Turkey achieves sustainable growth; otherwise the airport may only reach the capacity of 120 million passengers by the 2050s, a report by Professor Seyfettin Gürsel and Tuba Toru-Delibaşı from the Istanbul-based Bahçehir University showed.
According to the report, titled “Mega airport’s fate depends on Turkey’s growth potential,” the airport could reach its 150 million passengers capacity by the 2030s if Turkey manages to grow around 5 percent between 2013-2019, 4 percent between 2020-2030 and 2 percent between 2031-2050, in the first scenario. However, in the second scenario, the planned airport could reach a maximum capacity of 120 million passengers by the 2050s if Turkey manages to grow 4 percent between 2013-2019, 3 percent between 2020-2030 and 1.5 percent between 2031-2050, in the light of the Turkish economy’s structural problems, the report said.
The second main question of the report is about how the airport could become profitable despite its huge costs. The Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyon Consortium, a joint venture of Turkish companies, won a tender for the third airport in Istanbul on May 3, promising to pay the state 22.1 billion euros (plus taxes) for 25 years starting from 2017.
The new airport is expected to post a loss until 2030, when the loans are repaid, according the report. The accumulative loss would reach 5.7 billion euros in the first scenario, and 7.7 billion euros in the second by 2030. The planned airport, however, could accumulate 7.2 billion euros of profit by the end of 2043 in the first scenario, although the new airport would suffer from 4.8 billion euros of loss by 2043 in the second scenario. “As the consortium could not undertake such a big loss, there would be two possibilities: The loss would most probably be compensated by extra charges on passengers. Or the consortium would try to get some non-operational incomes on the land,” the report said.
Thirdly, around 3,500 hectares of land appears to be enough to meet the planned airport’s passenger capacity, according to the report. “The Atlanta Airport, which has now the biggest passenger capacity of the world, 95 million passengers, is built on 1,900 hectares while the new airport of Istanbul will be built on around 7,500 hectares,” the report said.