It is only about two months before Istanbul’s new airport becomes fully operational when Turkey’s national carrier Turkish Airlines moves all of their passenger flights over from Ataturk Airport. The carrier has extensive plans to increase operations once there, also in the future for their cargo product.
Opening end of October
Turkish Airlines now operates an impressive fleet of more than 300 aircraft to destinations across the globe. Many of these are long-haul types which offer customers ample belly capacity and thus strengthen Istanbul’s portion as an air cargo transit point and a worthy competitor to their neighbors in Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi.
It must seem as being something as a logistical nightmare to move a complete operation across from Ataturk to the new Istanbul Airport. It’s almost 50 kilometers away and literally everything has to be moved by December 31st to ensure a new start on January 1, 2019. Turkish Cargo has confirmed that they will operate all belly hold flights from the new airport by January 1. There is still a lot of new expansion work to be completed by 2028 where the new airport is then expected to be able to handle 5.5 million tons of cargo per annum along with an estimated 200 million passengers. Then there will be around 200,000 sqm of cargo handling space and the possibility of handling up to 35 freighters at one time. The airport has already signed deals with handlers such as Celebi and Havas to start operations there.
Freighters move later
Turkish Airlines Cargo is however taking the move step by step to ensure that operations will continue smoothly. Although all belly cargo will be handled as of January 1. at the new airport, the carrier plans to stagger freighter operations and continue operating their B777Fs and Airbus A330Fs out of Ataturk Airport until the end of 2019. This probably gives some breathing space at the new airport to ensure that all cargo facilities are up and running smoothly by then.
Turkish Cargo has a fleet of sixteen operational freighters. Ten Airbus A330F, three B777F and three B747F aircraft are operating cargo flights alongside the capacity offered in the holds of their 33 B777 and 55 A330 passenger aircraft. There are still two older Airbus freighters on hand, one A300 and three A310 freighters. Turkish Airlines has made it known that they plan a further fleet expansion. This includes more long-haul capacity.
One has to wonder where all the cargo will come from and what role Istanbul will play in the Middle East cargo scene in ten years’ time once it can handle 5.5 million tons each year.
Signing up with CHAMP
Turkish Cargo is readying itself for a new era and has recently announced that it has signed up with CHAMP Cargosystems for their Traxon CDMP quality management system. CHAMP claims that the CDMP system already accounts for over 40% of the measurement of global IATA Cargo iQ shipments moved on airlines. It is planned that with the introduction of the CHAMP system that over 1 million tons carried by Turkish Airlines Cargo will pass through the system.
John Mc Donagh