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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 Bridge, Istanbul 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 cancelled flights and even temporary suspensions. Some reports say contractors are walking away from the project.
Employee - Turkish - Airlines - Al-Monitor - Hangars
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."
These delays are not only embarrassing, but also indicate the Turkish government’s tainted management of even short-term planning. Indeed, the airport — once expected to be a "monument of victory" — has become a monumental problem.
Al-Monitor - Engineers - Opposition - Lawmakers - Workers
Al-Monitor spoke with engineers, opposition lawmakers as well as workers’ representatives who are involved in the project. Almost all the groups criticized the project from the start, but their voices weren't taken into account. We found two main reasons for the delay — reasons that may cause serious problems if the airport becomes fully functional: bad planning and financial collapse.
First, the airport's location is simply wrong — for economic, environmental and infrastructural reasons. As explained in the official introductory video published...
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