New Istanbul Airport key to Turkey’s economic ambitions

One of Turkey’s key assets is its location.

Aside from being romantically located between Europe and Asia and literally bridging the two continents via the Bosphorus bridge (as illustrated by millions of selfies), the location is a crucial aspect to Turkey’s upcoming economic success.

As we have mentioned in previous articles, Turkey’s geographic location, with access to over 1 billion people in under 4 hours of flying time, ensures an efficient supply chain for exporting goods. This is a unique selling point for attracting foreign businesses who wish to outsource manufactured goods, particularly in the textile and manufacturing sectors. Turkey offers high skilled labour, low production costs and, unlike her competitors, fast logistics to key markets in Europe and Asia.

To bolster this unique selling point, Turkey is investing heavily in a third airport in Istanbul which is planned to be the world’s largest airport. Combined, both current Istanbul airports handle 60 million passengers annually. The new Istanbul airport aims to handle 150 million passengers annually, rising to 200 million. Watch the video of the new Istanbul Airport.

Flagship Turkish Airlines and DHL already well positioned

Destinations of Turkish AirlinesTurkish Airlines already flies to more countries in the world than any other airline. The new Istanbul  airport will allow the company to expand to more routes and boost passenger and logistical capacity.

Unsurprisingly, DHL – owned by Deutsche Post – is investing heavily in the project. The deal envisions the building of a regional operations facility on a 20,000 square-meter territory.

DHL, which commands 53 percent of the market in Turkey, stated that “The new deal reaffirms DHL Express’ confidence in Turkey and its firm belief in turning the country into a strategic hub to serve Asia, the Middle East, and European markets”.

Grand designs

The new Istanbul airport is part of Turkey’s wider goal of reaching an export volume of USD 500 billion, a GDP of 2 trillion, and becoming a global logistics hub.

Dubai, together with its flagship airline Emirates, has positioned the city into a transport hub, currently ranked as the busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic. Istanbul will be competing directly with Dubai. Not only will the airport be bigger, but Istanbul is better situated than Dubai, having 24 countries within a 1000 km range.

Securing trade routes have been crucial to economic success, even since the early days of the crusades. Establishing itself as a the world’s biggest logistical hub is a wise and ambitious move and one that Turkey can pull off.

Preparation: Preparing for take off!

Istanbul airport greetingThe new Istanbul Airport development, yet again, highlights Turkey’s continued and relentless emergence on the world stage. After all, with her enviable geographic position and her clear investment into developing logistics, European export focussed companies will have to pay close attention: Dealing with or in Turkey may become inevitable, even indirectly, for global trade especially when reaching wider markets in Asia.

The HandsOnTurkish team believes that companies and staff wishing to deal in Turkey or with Turkish companies should familiarise themselves with the Turkish language and business etiquette (considered to be ‘high-context’) in order to maximise their chances for success and minimise potential, costly and avoidable mistakes.





The new EU-funded HandsOnTurkish project gives individuals and businesses the chance to acquire Turkish for vocational purposes and gain a better awareness of Turkish culture and business etiquette.

Businesses can access the free HandsOnTurkish eLearning course – available online or downloadable for iPads and smartphones via the Apple and Android Appstores.



Neal Taylor is one of the developers of HandsOnTurkish and regularly writes about business, culture and language learning news.

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