Less than a year after it became fully operational, Istanbul’s posh new airport is already vindicating critics who had argued that the project is irrational and would create a financial “black hole” and major environmental damage. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which paid little heed to the concerns, is now openly bestowing favors to the airport to prop up its performance. To channel travelers to the new airport on Istanbul’s European side, the authorities have shut down the city’s iconic Ataturk Airport and are now raising barriers to restrict traffic at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the city’s Asian side.
The new Istanbul Airport has already seen its reputation suffer amid delays and diversions due to strong winds in the area, a problem that was exacerbated in early January. Yet passengers are increasingly being stripped of alternatives.