Operational trials to take place at Istanbul New Airport

Preparations for the opening of the new $11 billion İstanbul New Airport (INA) where the biggest airport transfer in the world is set to take place are coming to a close.

The airport will start operations on Monday, 29 October and all operators are moving from Istanbul Ataturk Airport with Turkish Airlines set to operate the first flight.

INA will carry out three major operational trials from the end of September until the second week of October which will feature 9,000 people and 10 aircraft.

Turkish Airlines will make the first commercial belly flight and the first overseas flights will be made to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan.

Once finished, the new airport will have six runways spread over 7,594 hectares, and it will feature a 1.4 million square metre Cargo City with a capacity of 5.5 million tonnes of capacity.

İGA-İstanbul New Airport chief executive officer and general manager, Kadri Samsunlu said: “At this point, we have finished training the airlines, particularly Turkish Airlines, ground services, and other stakeholders, all in order to ensure their orientation to the airport in the operation preparation process.”


Training as part of the process, which is called ORAT (Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer) in the aviation sector, is ongoing.

Noting that they have been receiving consultancy from Copenhagen and Incheon airports since November 2016 as part of the ORAT Project, Samsunlu said eight consultants, a team of 60 people and 100 operational staff, all of them with aviation experience in fields such as airports, airlines, and handling, are included in the ORAT team.

Samsunlu added: “A transfer to an airport that will reflect Turkey’s strength and potential for growth and turn a new page in aviation history will take place. We have finished all preparations for the transfer to İstanbul New Airport.

“We have especially made significant progress in the operation preparation part, which is the first stage of ORAT. We’ll carry out three major trials in the coming month. We are working on scenarios based on 105 different subjects and events.”

The ORAT process at İstanbul New Airport started in 2016.

In the training stage of ORAT, which consists of four stages, 27,522 class training sessions, and 28,225 field training sessions were provided to the executives and employees of Turkish Airlines, HAVAŞ, ÇELEBİ, and Turkish Ground Services and employees of other stakeholders providing services at the airport under the leadership of the General Directorate of State Airports Authority.

In the ORAT workflow, class and field training sessions are followed by the trial period. A total of 46 scenarios have been tested in the trial operations since 31 May. These scenarios will be tried out in the remaining period before the launch with the participation of 1,000, 3,000 and 5,000 people through real trials presenting different events.

The first trial operation in the last week of September will see 1,000 trial passengers, 2,000 trial pieces of luggage, around 800 staff members from operational stakeholders and public institutions, two real aircraft (Turkish Airlines), and 50 ground service equipment vehicles.

The second trial operation is in the first week of October and will see 3,000 trial passengers, 6,000 trial pieces of luggage, around 1,000 staff members from operational stakeholders and public institutions, three real aircraft (Turkish Airlines), and 150 ground service equipment vehicles.

In the third trial operation in the second week of October 5,000 trial passengers, 10,000 trial pieces of luggage, around 1,000 staff members from İGA, operational stakeholders and public institutions, five real aircraft, and 200 ground service equipment vehicles will take part.

The airport’s operational preparations for IT continue including structural fiber and copper cabling, the wireless network, physical security system, flight information system, terminal management system, check-in and boarding systems, enterprise resource planning, the airport operational control center, baggage reconciliation and sorting systems and local departure control systems have primarily which been prepared for implementation.