From October end, those flying through Istanbul will have the opportunity to travel through what could be one of the world’s largest airports.

Turkish authorities are hoping to inaugurate the first of the three phases of the Istanbul New Airport on October 29, the country’s Republic Day.

The first terminal at the New Airport will be the world’s biggest terminal building under one roof, extending over an area of 1.3 million square metres, and set to serve 90 million passengers a year.

The first phase will also include a multi-storey car park, three independent parallel runways, associated taxiway systems, fuel farms and air traffic control towers, roads, communication and meteorology systems, infrastructure and support facilities. Its capacity will be raised to 150 million passengers with additional terminals and runways in the project’s later phases.

Hoping to cash in on the wave of east-west transit and tourists , once complete by 2028, the airport will have three terminals, six runways and an annual capacity of up to 200 million passengers flying through to more than 350 destinations across the world. It is over three times what the New Delhi airport services, and double the passenger capacity of the world’s busiest airport — the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport that currently services 100 million passengers a year.

Istanbul already has two functioning airports — Ataturk and the Sabiha Gokcen International airport. While the Ataturk will become an all-commercial airport for cargo flights, authorities say that the Sabiha Gokcen will continue being used as it is presently as Istanbul’s second airport located in the Asian quarters of the bi-continental city.

‘White elephant’

The New Airport, however, is often referred to as a white elephant, given the mammoth funds poured into it.

The builder, who goes by the name of iGA, is a 100 per cent private consortium with five equal shareholders.

“We are going to pay approximately €1 billion rent to the government. In addition, we have €10 billion investment cost. ” iGA said in a statement to BusinessLine . "The Turkey Economic Impact Analysis, published in June 2016 by the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, estimates that the airport will make $40 billion worth of contributions to Turkey's economy by 2025."

One of the much-anticipated elements of the new airport is its unique architectural design that draws from Turkish-Islamic art and architecture motifs.

The dome shaped roof of the terminal has the signature style of architect Mimar Sinan and the control tower is inspired by the Turkish tulip.

The writer was in Turkey at the invitation of Turkish Airlines.