The closing of Atatürk Airport and opening of INA will be the world’s largest airport transfer to date. For the first time in history, an airport with a capacity of 70 million passengers will be transferred in its entirety 45 kilometers away. To ensure functioning without failures, a process called ORAT (Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer) has started. For the airport to be ready on an operational level, all systems must be in order, tested, and capable of working together.
Up to now, South Korea is the record holder, having transferred an airport with a capacity of 45 million passengers a distance of 40 kilometers away. Since June, an international team of 20 experts at INA, consisting of members from Korea, Denmark, and Germany, has prepared ORAT over the course of more than 50 meetings. A total of 200 scenarios are in the making so that all stakeholders will become familiar with the airport.
Six months before opening, INA will carry out small-scale trials that will become more frequent in the three months prior to the opening. In the first stage, these trials will have nearly 10,000 passengers. In the first trial, 3,000 passengers will arrive at the airport as though they are going on a trip. In a second trial, a group will land from abroad and then take a domestic flight. Thirty thousand pieces of luggage will arrive, too, and circulate within the system.
Further tests include contingencies and aircraft. INA is planning to carry out about four tests with aircraft. The luggage and freight systems will be displayed on screens. The airplane will take off and land but without actually heading for a destination. In the next stage, INA will test scenarios involving accidents, adverse weather conditions, and fire incidents with passengers on board.
INA calculates that it will take three days to transfer Turkish Airlines alone. Special, large-scale trucks will be used for the road transfers. “All these activities will be carried out with excellent planning,” Keskin says.