Prime Minister Visits Malaysia-Owned Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Turkey
The Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (ISGIA), the 12th busiest airport in Europe which is wholly-owned and managed by Malaysia Airports, welcomed Malaysian Prime Minister YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on July 26, 2019, who had flown in from Ankara on the third day of his four-day visit to Turkey.
Along with wife Tun Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, Tun M was accompanied by HE Dato’ Abdul Razak Abdul Wahab, Malaysian Ambassador to Turkey – and on hand to receive them were YB Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs; YB Darell Leiking, Minister of International, Trade & Industry; YB Mohamad Sabu, Minister of Defence; Tan Sri Datuk Zainun Ali, Chairman of Malaysia Airports; Datuk Shahril Ridza, Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional; Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, Group CEO of Malaysia Airports; ISGIA management team and representatives of the Turkish authorities.
Part of the Prime Minister’s visit included a briefing on the operations and growth potential of ISGIA, along with a viewing of the recently completed domestic boarding hall expansion.
The year 2008 saw the start of Malaysia Airports’ involvement in ISGIA, located 40km from the city centre, Taksim, and 25km away from Kadıkoy, the city centre of the Asian side. Together with its consortium partners, it was awarded the concession to operate the airport for 20 + 4 years.
The airport operator had acquired 100% stake in ISGIA by 2014, making it one of the world’s largest airport operator group in terms of passenger numbers. Not only is ISGIA currently the second largest airport in Turkey, but it is also the world’s busiest single runway and terminal – registering a total of 34.1 million passenger traffic movements and revenue of RM1,154.1 million in 2018. And as at June 2019, the airport registered 16.7 million passenger traffic movements, rising a further 3.4% from the same period last year.
The airport, with its long-term growth potential, is certainly a strategic investment for Malaysia Airports. In 2018, ISGIA was the second fastest growing airport in Europe within its category of above 30 million passengers per annum (mppa), its location capturing the India, Middle East and Africa (IMEA) market – even with the opening of the new Istanbul Airport.
On top of being a hub for Turkey’s largest carriers, namely Pegasus Airlines and Turkish Airlines, ISGIA has 56 other airlines operating from the airport serving 38 domestic and 108 international destinations.
With the recently completed boarding hall expansion, the airport’s capacity has increased to 41 mppa from 33 mppa previously. The Turkish government is also in the midst of constructing a second runway at the airport which is due to complete by 2020 and is expected to double ISG’s airside capacity. The future for ISGIA remains bright, as together with KL International Airport, both airports have the potential to provide a game-changing opportunity as hubs for Islamic connectivity for Europe and Asia Pacific. Currently Malaysia is the number one global Islamic economy for the fifth year running and KLIA is the preferred hub into Saudi Arabia for Indonesia’s 220 million population. Meanwhile, Turkey is among the world’s top three destinations for halal travel and ISGIA is able to provide direct access for Turkey’s 80 million population and the rest of Europe into Saudi Arabia.