Istanbul New Airport Design

April 30, 2018


Istanbul New Airport, as it’s currently being called, will serve as a new hub that connects east and west. Due to open in 2018, with full completion scheduled for 2028, the terminal buildings have been designed to give passengers an unrivaled travel experience.

Istanbul has historically been the world’s hub. A little more than 35 kilometers north of the city, construction is well underway on what is to become the world’s largest airport. Once complete, Istanbul New Airport will serve approximately 150 million passengers a year – roughly two times more than London Heathrow in 2016. Costing $11.3 billion, it will feature six runways, eight air-traffic control towers, 165 passenger boarding bridges, 500 airplane capacity, and rail-connected terminals that spread more than 70 million square feet.

The company

Originally planned as a replacement for the city’s over-capacity Atatürk Airport, itself the fifth busiest airport in Europe, the volatile security situation in Europe only served to highlight the need for more robust security at the new facility. It’s a core requirement that has played a prominent role in the design of the new airport. Plans include extra space and bigger circulation areas in all check-in zones, as well as centralized services, and a whole host of innovative facilities to improve airline efficiency.

The challenge

“In Istanbul, rich culture and historical connotations exist alongside a sophisticated, technologically modern society. We want to express the old culture while simultaneously looking forward.”

Gudmund Stokke, Principal Partner and Chairman, Nordic


The work being undertaken is designed to deliver a smarter, more exciting customer experience. It will be a new yardstick for technological innovation, including advances such as biometric self-service, augmented reality, smart kiosks, social-media-enabled services, iBeacons that provide indoor directions, and an Internet of Things framework that communicates with smart infrastructure to deliver a more effective user experience.

Average retail spend per passenger at Istanbul Atatürk Airport was €15 in 2015, significantly outperforming the European average of €10.4. To serve what will be a significant increase in demand, the airport will provide passengers with the world’s largest travel retail shopping environment, with more than 400 luxury brands and a uniquely Turkish shopping experience called ‘City of Facets’.

The Solution

The ease of passenger flow

With any airport, the most important thing is to design a structure that minimizes walking distances to ease the flow of passengers.

Bringing in commercial revenue

Passengers will naturally reach the main commercial area as smoothly as possible. Thus, the airport gets the revenue it needs and provides an environment where everyone feels comfortable.

A building that tells you where to walk

Through the use of space at the entrance, there will be room for crowds of people to move, and openings between buildings that immediately show people where to walk.

The gateway to a fantastic world city

Istanbul has thousands of years of history. By using light and shapes in the roof construction, people will have the feeling they’re arriving in the modern Istanbul.

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