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ISTANBUL: December 22, 2016. Istanbul New Airport (INA) says 38 percent of first phase construction has been completed including a runway and the air traffic control tower.

Also under way is the 1.3 million sq. ft. Terminal 1 that it says will be the largest airport passenger facility in the world when complete.

INA TurkeySituated on the European side of Istanbul in the district of Arnavutköy, some 35 kilometers from the city center, INA will also include a 1.4 million sq. mt. air cargo and logistics hub with the capacity to grow to 1.6 million sq. mt.

Currently employing 23,000 people on what it claims is the world's busiest building site, the airport says the first quarter of 2017 will see completion of the main terminal building shell followed by the roof six months later.

The airport is being built and will be operated by IGA Havalimanı İşletmesi (IGA), a consortium of five Turkish companies - Cengiz, Kolin, Limak, MAPA and Kalyon - each with a 20 percent stake.

When complete in 2028, IGA says the mega hub will see 150 airlines operate from six runways with an annual capacity of 200 million passengers flying to more than 350 destinations worldwide.

To help finance the cost of the airport's first stage, estimated at €6 billion, IGA has signed a €4.5 billion, 16-year loan with six Turkish banks: Ziraat Bank, Halkbank, VakıfBank, DenizBank, Garanti Bank and Finansbank.

Commenting on the deal, İGA Board member and Limak Holding Board chairman Nihat Özdemir said: "We have an expansive goal and that is to make Istanbul and Turkey the hub of the global aviation sector.

"We are undertaking the biggest investment in the history of the [Turkish] republic without the guarantee of the Treasury. As from the date operations begin, we will be contributing an annual €886 million euros to the state budget, signifying a total of €22.15 billion at the end of 25 years," he declared.

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