“Turkey will become one of the important centers of the commercial aviation sector in the world,” he told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.
The first phase of the airport opened on Oct. 29 and commercial flights started early November.
The airport has the potential to welcome 90 million passengers annually and following the second phase of construction, expected to be completed in 2023, this number will rise to around 200 million.
“Turkey which is 17th in the world with regards to the number of passengers will be 9th by 2032,” he added.
He said the fleet of planes the country owns is expected to reach 700 with the contribution of the new airport.
The flag carrier carried over 36,000 passengers through its three domestic and two international flights via Istanbul Airport during the last month, he noted.
The airport has 2.5 million tons of cargo capacity annually and it will reach 5.5 million tons when all phases are completed, he added.
The airport employs 36,000 people currently, 120,000 people will work in the coming months, and 225,000 people will work when all phases are completed. It will provide employment to 1.5 million people indirectly.
The airport would take flight to 350 destinations worldwide including Africa.
The flag carrier will make its subsidiary Turkish Cargo one of the five best cargo companies in the world, he said.