Davutoglu: Istanbul's 3rd airport to have vast green area

Turkish premier says 5 million trees to be planted in 65 million m2 area of third airport

Turkish premier says 5 million trees to be planted in 65 million m2 area of third airport

ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday that the largest part of Istanbul’s third airport area will be reserved as a green zone, where they will plant 5 million trees. 

"15 million square-meters of the overall 80 million m2 area will be allocated for the facilities and the other 65 million m2 will be arranged with trees or landscape designs," he told the press after he examined the ongoing construction works for Istanbul’s third airport, which will be the most important center of world air traffic in Turkey’s largest city.

Boasting a 150-million passenger annual capacity, the airport is expected to become one of the biggest in the world and the biggest air transfer hub in Europe.

Davutoglu stated that around €10 billion has been invested in the airport project at the construction phase, and it will total up to an amount of €32 billion with another €22 billion in the other phases.

"It is a great indicator of the level which Turkey's economy, companies and the construction sector has reached that such a project of such a big scale was undertaken by Turkish firms," he said.

The Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyon Consortium, a joint venture of Turkish companies, won a tender for the third Istanbul airport in May 2013, promising to pay the state €22.1 billion, plus taxes, over 25 years starting in 2017.

He noted that the companies are undertaking the airport project over the long term, which is a "very striking sign of the trust in Turkey's stability," according to Davutoglu.

The premier also stressed that they have to be sensitive about the environmental pattern of Istanbul and the soil structure of the area during the progress of the construction works.

"The scale of the project and our sensitivity towards the environmental pattern are equivalent," he added.

Davutoglu maintained that the natural topography of the area has been deformed and for the project to be completed the ground which was once used for mining activities has to be fortified first.

As for the progress of the project, the prime minister said there will be four phases -- the first of which is scheduled to be completed in Oct. 29, 2017, once the first two runways and the terminal are built.

"The terminal will be the largest in the world as it will be built on an area of 920,000 m2," he said.

At the end of the first phase, the airport is planned to enter service with an initial capacity of 90 million passengers on Oct. 29, the 94th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.

Davutoglu said the passenger capacity will reach 120 million in the second phase in the summer 2018 when the third runway will be ready for the planes.

The airport will reach the ultimate target of 150 million passenger capacity at the end of the third phase, he added.

The premier further stated that the fourth phase consists of the drainage activities to strengthen the ground for the other facilities of the airport and green areas.

"We assume that more than 150 airlines will use the airport," he said.

During the project, Davutoglu said 3,000 pieces of construction equipment will be used and 30,000 people will be employed.

"When the airport starts operating, it will create a total of 120,000 jobs," he added.

He reiterated that the project and the construction works will cause no damage to the environment or decrease the surrounding forested areas.

The premier said that a name has not been decided for the historic airport yet, but said it will be designed based on the latest technology.

Asked whether the increase in the U.S. dollar against Turkish lira will increase the cost of the project, he said that all plans were already made on a euro basis, so it will cause no such loss.

The airport will be connected to the city center through a new highway, the upcoming third bridge on the Istanbul strait, and railway systems.

The airport will also act as a focal point for the Turkish Airlines, Turkey's flag carrier, which is one of the fastest growing airline companies in the world, flying currently to over more than 200 international destinations.

The new airport, whose construction has progressed through the work of over 250 domestic and foreign architects, as well as more than 500 engineers, is planned as a large complex including four separate terminal buildings connected via a rail system, eight control towers, six airfields, 16 taxi roads, a 6.5 million square meter apron, cargo and general aviation terminal, a parking garage with a capacity for around 70,000 cars, a medical aviation center, hotels, and a congress center.

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