Istanbul airport

Pininfarina-Aecom-Istanbul-New-Airport-air-traffic-tower_Dezeen_784Pininfarina and AECOM have beaten proposals from Zaha Hadid and Moshe Safdie in a contest seeking a design for an air-traffic control tower at Istanbul’s new airport.

Pininfarina, an Italian design studio, and AECOM, a global architecture firm, were selected ahead of five other shortlisted teams in the competition, which also included Fuksas, RMJM, and Grimshaw and Nordic – the architects designing the rest of the airport.

Their winning design refers to the aerodynamic forms of aircraft.

It features a curving tower that will serve as a landmark for passengers flying in and out of the airport. The shape of the structure is intended to reference the tulip – a symbol of Istanbul.

“In this competition, our aim was to combine the dynamism and romance of Pininfarina’s architectural style that is so influenced by automotive design with AECOM’s in-house aviation architecture capabilities,” said AECOM’s Jennifer Dixon.

“The AECOM and Pininfarina team has created a beautiful and highly functional piece that rekindles the excitement and glamour of modern air travel at the crossroads of Europe and Asia,” she added.

“The Istanbul ATC for the New Airport is an iconic building, destined to become a landmark for Istanbul,” added Pininfarina chairman Paolo Pininfarina.

Pininfarina is best known for its transport design, and has worked with agricultural machinery manufacturer Zetor on a Ferrari-style tractor, as well as train designs for Eurostar. Earlier this year the company was bought by Indian conglomerate Mahindra.

“Our aim, as with all our projects, was to develop a bespoke idea that embodied our partner’s design identity while at the same time bringing a new aesthetic perspective,” added Pininfarina.

“By leveraging the unique combination of our 85 years’ experience in design – from cars to superyachts, and from luxury products to furniture – with our architectural knowledge gained from several projects around the world, we have been able to create a technologically advanced structure of distinctive character.”

All six entrants were tasked with creating a contemporary and sustainable design that reflects the culture and heritage of the city.

AECOM and Pininfarina’s winning design will be built at Istanbul New Airport, a six-runway structure that will house the “world’s largest airport terminal under one roof”.

The airport will be located 20 miles outside the city on the Black Sea coast, and will be built in four phases with the first expected to open in 2018.

“One of the world’s largest aviation projects, Istanbul New Airport’s air traffic control tower will be an iconic structure, visible to all passengers travelling through the airport,” said Yusuf Akçayoğlu, chief executive officer of İGA.

“We were looking for a striking design fit for a 21st century airport while remaining sensitive to Istanbul’s unique heritage,” he added.

Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport broke the air traffic all-time record with 1,171 landings and take-offs on April 25, ahead of an approaching tender for the third Istanbul airport.

The largest of Istanbul’s airports has the highest growth rate of any of the world’s airports that host more than 10 million passengers per year, the General Director of State Airports Authority (DHMİ) Orhan Birdal said in a statement on April 26.

The statement said the most intense air traffic in the airport was with 929 planes in 2008 and that the number of airplanes landing and taking off in 24 hours had reached 1,171 two days ago. Birdal said the Transportation Ministry and his directorate had been straining every nerve to prevent possible malfunctions, but also said the new airport planned for Istanbul needed to be completed as soon as possible due to the high pressure currently on Ataturk Airport.

The tender for the airport is set to be held in May 3. Its passenger capacity is planned to gradually reach 150 million passengers, with its first phase is set to be completed by 2017.

A tender to build Istanbul’s third airport, which Turkey says could eventually be the world’s largest, is expected to attract up to four bids, with limited foreign interest in the 7 billion euro ($9 billion) project, sources close to the matter said.

The government project reflects the growing importance of Istanbul, Europe’s largest city, as a regional transport hub in tandem with Turkey’s economic rise over the last decade.

Alongside already expected bids from TAV, which is partly French owned, and IC Ictas-Fraport, the sources said a consortium of Turkish construction companies Cengiz, Kolin, Limak, Mapa and Kalyon was set to bid in the May 3 tender.

Turkish conglomerate Sabanci Holding and construction company Enka Insaat were also working together on a possible bid, the sources said, adding that the size of the project and the technical difficulties which it entails were seen discouraging foreign interest.

“We think it would be a surprise if a bid is made by anyone apart from these four groups,” one source close to the matter said.

Quarries are located in the area near the Black Sea on the European side of Istanbul where the airport is to be built and filling them alone will cost some 2-2.5 billion euros, discouraging foreign interest, the source said.

At the start of the process, airport operators from Singapore, Britain and the Netherlands expressed an interest but there is no indication that any will take part in the tender.

The same source also said it would be difficult for new partners to join the project after the tender.

The companies involved and government officials declined to comment.


Turkey unveiled in January its plans to build the airport, which will have a total of six runways and eventually able to handle 150 million passengers per year.

Turkey’s transport minister said the airport would be the largest in the world in terms of passengers at full capacity, though it was not clear when this would be. Istanbul, the hub for flag carrier Turkish Airlines, is becoming a major regional hub, linking destinations in Europe and Asia.

The tender for the build-operate-transfer project, to be conducted in four stages, will be for a 25-year lease. An annual capacity of 90 million passengers is planned for the first stage.

The first stage of construction is expected to be completed in 3-4 years. But sector sources said it would be nearly impossible to finish the construction so quickly.

Among the expected bidders, TAV has the operating rights for Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, the country’s largest with some 30 million international passengers last year.

Operations at Ataturk are likely to be heavily scaled back when the third airport opens. Ataturk’s new international terminal costing hundreds of millions of dollars was opened only just over a decade ago, but a huge rise in air traffic through Istanbul has left it running at full capacity. The airport has only two main runways.

TAV has said the Turkish airports authority would compensate it for any losses if the third airport opened while it was still running Ataturk.

TAV also runs airports in Tunisia, Macedonia, Georgia, Latvia and Saudi Arabia. Among the other prospective bidders, Limak has also been involved in airport projects on the Asian side of Istanbul, in Egypt and in Kosovo.

Hamdi Akin, the chairman of major TAV shareholder Akfen, said earlier this month the company was not looking for a partner in the project, though it could consider a financing partnership later.

Bidders in the project are expected to provide around 1.5 billion euros in share capital, with project financing seen amounting to around 5 billion euros. ($1 = 0.7644 euros)

The controversial land dispute revolving around the Turkish Armed Forces property next to Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport has recently been settled, after military officials agreed to turn the property over to the Ministry of Transportation, daily Zaman has reported.

Ongoing plans have been focusing on the change of the military status of the land in order to include the property in future construction, reportedly aimed at easing the traffic congestion around the airport, as meetings with Turkey’s Air Force Academy continued on the matter.

The Ministry of Defense approved the transfer in a surprise move, allowing the property to be converted to civilian property.

Officials claimed the planned construction will allow a larger space for landing and taking off, easing the air traffic at the airport and thereby preventing delays. Turkey’s State Airport Directorate has been refusing to allow landings of national and foreign airline companies, citing traffic as the main cause.

Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday. According to a statement from the president's...


Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday. According to a statement from the president's...