Istanbul New Airport is a multi-billion Euro project that is due to open by 2018.

Planned to open with three runways and a terminal with an annual capacity for 90 million passengers the intent is to expand to six runways with 150 million annual passengers, making it the largest airport in the world.

If these figures sound familiar, it may be because they are directly comparable to an average year in the South East UK. Here we manage 150 million passengers and 1 million air traffic movements operating on six runways in and around London.

It’s well known this is some of the most complex airspace in the world and so the challenge for the new Istanbul airport cannot be under estimated.

IGA (Istanbul Grand Airport) has just launched an architectural competition to design the control tower for Istanbul New Airport

IGA (Istanbul Grand Airport) has just launched an architectural competition to design the control tower for Istanbul New Airport

There are many areas that need to be addressed to ensure this level of traffic can be managed efficiently and in support of delivering a positive experience for passengers and airlines, whilst meeting current and future performance targets.

I joined a panel discussion at this year’s ACI event in Istanbul and presented what I believe are the top three areas for consideration;

1.  Airport Capacity Management – in particular Intelligent scheduling

2.  Optimised Airspace – designing the airspace and operation to maximise safety and capacity whilst delivering excellent fuel efficiency

3.  Optimised Delivery – developing the delivery capability to utilise the airspace and tools to deliver consistent performance.

All become increasingly important with the scale of the operation and understanding the consequence of scheduling more traffic is crucial to the performance of the airport operation and commercial efficiency.

Whilst focus is on the ultimate design capacity of the new airport; the transition period over the next few years is just as challenging, particularly during the time when airlines begin to schedule operations at the new airport.


Utilising technology and tools to understand performance, optimise the schedule, the airport operation and the airspace, and have the right capability, training and tools to provide precision delivery to plan also requires focus.

All stakeholders need to have accurate and relevant information available to them and work to shared goals that deliver to the plan.

Pilots need to be engaged in performance and capacity enhancement initiatives and the use of regular performance league tables is an excellent way for airlines to support each other in enhancing their own standard operating procedures.

Air traffic control needs the capability, the systems and the training in order to deliver optimal and consistent performance: one of the most important aspects being the efficient delivery of traffic to the runways.

Experience helps us to evaluate where we are today and where we need to be in the future, how we have controlled our airspace and airports in the past and how we can embrace technology such as Airport Capacity Management (ACM) and Times Based Separation (TBS) to take us into a new era of aviation – one that delivers more capacity and resilient operations, wherever we are in the world.


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What is NATS involvement with this airport? You seem to have advice but no real world involvement with this airport!


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