Initially scheduled for October 29, the complete opening of Istanbul New Airport may be postponed to an unspecified date. Turkish authorities announced on Tuesday, September 18, that flight activities would still be launched on October 29; however, the airport will not be fully operational, handling only 20 to 30 flights per day. Istanbul's Atatürk Airport (IST), which is set to close once the new airport becomes fully functional, will remain open until further notice.
On a related note, a Turkish court ordered 24 airport workers to be placed in temporary detention on September 19, following protests held to denounce working and living conditions at the airport construction site.
Demonstrations initially broke out on September 14, after 17 workers were injured in a shuttle bus incident; thousands of people reportedly took part in the protests, which were broken up by riot police. These demonstrations continued throughout the weekend, denouncing the living and working conditions, as well as a number of deaths which have occurred at the construction site.
Istanbul New Airport, located north of Istanbul in Arnavutköy district, will replace Istanbul Atatürk Airport and assume the IATA airport code IST. Once operational, it is expected to see about 90 million passengers pass through each year.
Individuals in Istanbul are advised to monitor developments to the situation, contact their airlines for more information, and avoid all protests due to the risk of violence.
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