During its 2024 press conference, Selahattin Bilgen, CEO at iGA Istanbul Airport, stated that the airport invested 160.1 million Euros in 2023 and announced an investment target for 2024 as 656.5 million Euros, as well as outlining key targets across flight routes, runways, sustainability and passenger satisfaction.
Increasing its influence as a global transfer hub day by day, iGA Istanbul Airport started 2024 with innovations and ambitious growth targets, following a very successful 2023. Despite being open for only five years, it has held the title of “Europe’s Busiest Airport” in terms of number of flights for the last four consecutive years. Bilgen said:
“Since we started flight operations in 2019, we have increased the number of flights from 329,876 to 505,968 at the end of 2023, and thereby the number of passengers from nearly 53 million to 76 million, breaking records for both daily flights and passenger numbers in the summer. Türkiye as a destination has also seen a boost in tourism, becoming the fourth country in the world to host the highest number of tourists. We are so thrilled to be able to contribute to Türkiye’s national economy and to our citizens through this sector.”
Targets for 2024
Announcing that its passenger target for 2024 is 85 million, Bilgen stated that iGA Istanbul Airport continues to grow its passenger traffic with more passengers every day. “We plan to increase the number of flights to 532,000 in 2024,” said Bilgen, highlighting that the airpor plans to increase the number of passengers by 12.77%.
Expressing that the airport is proud to increase the number of airline companies it serves, from 61 in 2019, to 101 by the 100th anniversary of the Republic, Bilgen announced that iGA will be welcoming a total of 11 new airlines by the end of 2024. He stated: “This signifies iGA Istanbul Airport establishing leadership in the global aviation industry. iGA Istanbul Airport ranks among the world’s top three airports regarding the number of served airline companies.
iGA Istanbul Airport also has plans to implement the first triple parallel runway operation in Europe in 2024. Selahattin Bilgen added, “We will break new ground among ICAO member nations with our triple independent runway operations.” Bilgen continued: “We are targeting operations with the highest efficiency and capacity, after the USA. With this method, our 120 ATM/h (hourly air traffic capacity) capacity can potentially exceed 148 ATM/h. This capacity increase in air traffic will play an essential role in our airport exceeding its contract’s 150 million passenger target and reaching 200 million passengers without any additional runway investment following Phase 5.”
Stating that it had invested 160.1 million euros in 2023, Bilgen confirmed plans to increase their investment at iGA Istanbul Airport in 2024. He continued; “2024 will be the “Year of Investments” for iGA. We will invest 35 million Euros for the General Aviation Terminal, which we plan to complete at the end of the year, and we hope to invest 146.4 million Euros in the Eskişehir GES Project, which we will also complete by the end of the year. With the 199.32 MWe unlicensed SPP (Solar Power Plant) to be established on an area of 3,000,000 square meters by iGA Havalimanı İşletmesi A.Ş. in Eskişehir, iGA will be the first airport in the world to meet all of its electricity needs with renewable energy. We anticipate an annual energy production of 340.446.833 kWh/year through this plant. For the Hilton Istanbul Airport, which we plan to complete in the first quarter of 2025, we have an investment target of 25.6 million Euros this year. We aim to invest a total of 656.5 million euros in 2024, with a total investment of 331.2 million euros planned for the construction of the East-West runway and the North-South backup runway in 2024.”
iGA Istanbul Airport is a significant centre in terms of world cargo transportation, with the cargo area now reaching three times that of Hong Kong Airport’s. Bilgen added: “There are currently 14 scheduled cargo airline companies that are actively operating at the airport, and our current infrastructure could reach a capacity of 5.5 million tons, at an impressive level of 1.4 million square meters.”
Investment from FedEx and Trendyol
iGA Istanbul Airport also announced its cooperation with Trendyol and FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company. FedEx Express has started installing a 23,000-square-meter facility in the iGA Istanbul Airport Cargo Zone, which will be a hub that will integrate operations on three continents, providing strategic connectivity between Asia and Africa. Bilgen commented that the team “is proud to host Europe’s new global air transportation facility.”
The Trendyol project, which will have a total area of 12,000 square meters and a daily output capacity of 150,000 products, with an investment of 36 million euros, is planned to become operational in the first quarter of 2025. Thus, the storage areas will increase to 150,000 square meters, the number of warehouses to 14, and the parcel area to 353,000 square meters.
iGA Istanbul Airport, with its “Our Focus is the World, Our Goal is the Future” mission, is among the world’s airports committed to “Net Zero CO2 Emissions”, aiming to reduce their emissions by 45% in six years compared to the base year. “We will achieve a 73% emission reduction in 2040 and reach the Net Zero Emission target in 2050”, Bilgen said, underlining that iGA completed the year 2023 with 14% less emissions than targeted, according to the Net Zero roadmap prepared in line with the IPCC 1.5°C scenario.
He added: “With our waste recycling program, we are determined to achieve our zero emission targets by 2050, taking concrete steps such as reducing waste emissions by 50% and converting 50% of our vehicle fleet to electric vehicles,” he said. iGA Istanbul Airport has already achieved significant success in the ACI Airports Carbon Accreditation programme by reaching Level 4 in three years. This was achieved through decreasing energy consumption by nearly 11%, and decreasing the water footprint by 5%. iGA Istanbul Airport recycled 35% of their waste and ensured its addition into Turkey’s economy as a raw material.
The passenger satisfaction rate is increasing every day, and following a study conducted by GfK Research Company over three years, the public’s appreciation rate of Istanbul Airport has increased continuously, reaching 89% in 2023. Selahattin Bilgen stated that he believes this rate will increase even higher with the opening of the Gayrettepe-Istanbul Airport metro and emphasised how proud they are to be the preferred airport of the people of Istanbul.