Tolga Özbek / İstanbul, Aug 11 () - The construction works at Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen Airport’s in Istanbul in midst of summer season keep sparking outrage among the passengers.
While almost every flight faces a delay, it was revealed that behind the scenes of this chaos lied the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMİ). The DHMI has been launching construction works without reorganizing the capacity of stations and informing the airline companies beforehand.
Turkish Airlines has recently requested a schedule from DHMI in order to find out the possible impacts of the works on the capacity. However Ankara has responded, “We are doing what is necessary” after the application of Turkish Airlines.
In the international scene, on the contrary, the other large airports in the world generally tend to announce the constructions one year in advance and request a reduction of number of flights if necessary.
Likewise, the Sabiha Gökçen Airport under the Airport Management and Aeuronatutical Industries Inc. (HEAŞ) affiliated to Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries has been facing delays.
Because of maintenance works, the runways have been closed for four hours at nights. Sometimes these works take even 6 hours. In these cases, back up airplanes cannot land over Sabiha Gokcen, and are coerced to land over Bursa city.
The Ataturk Airport officials have been announcing the airport as the fifth in Europe, and 14th in the world, leaving New York's JFK five rows behind, in terms of daily flight traffic. On the other hand, the capacity numbers and the unsatisfactory service to passengers and companies create a serious problem, against the advertisements of these ‘record high’ numbers.
The report also calles on officials to explain why the construction works are launched in summer season in Turkey, while the works are maintained without any problems in Russia under -40 degrees and in England even on a day of heavy rain.
Key points of the Turkish Airlines’ report
+ Airplanes at the Ataturk Airport are landed at 5.5 km intervals and at Sabiha Gokcen Airport at around 14.8 km intervals.
+ At Ataturk Airport, the legal margin between two planes is at 60 seconds. Wave configuration is at capacity for 45 landings-45 departures every hour. The necessary parking position number is 122 within the operation.
+ The controler from DHMI also directs the air traffic of Sabhia Gokcen along with Ataturk Airport. However since the planes in Sabiha Gökçen are being brought in 8 sea miles (around 14.8 kilometers) intervals, this causes the non-productive use of capacity. Turkish Airlines refers to this situations as “incomprehensible”.
+ At Ataturk Airport, every day 1400 planes land and take offs. According to the scientific reports of Eurocontrol controlling the air space of Europe and NATS controlling the air space of the U.K., the daily traffic can be raised to 1600 airplanes.Accordingly, the research conducted for Sabiha Gökçen shows that the remaining number of runway can be easily boosted..
+ Tender offer for constructions of a parallel runway to boost the traffic flow in Sabiha Gökçen was prolonged for one year according to the report, after one of the tenderer companies objection. The operation could have been launched without any problems with preventive plannings and a construction of a second runway.