Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines' first flight from new Istanbul Airport departed on Wednesday for the capital Ankara.
The TK 2124 scheduled flight took off at 11.32 a.m. local time [0832GMT] from new Istanbul Airport -- which will be the largest airport in the world when all the phases are operational -- to land on Ankara Esenboga Airport.
With Monday’s opening, two runways -- stretching 3,750 and 4,100 meters long -- went into service as part of the first phase, including three separate airstrips.
The Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan and a number of journalists were among the passengers on board along with other passengers who arrived at the airport for check-in.
At full capacity -- with the completion of all four phases with six runways -- Istanbul Airport is set to become a global aviation hub by hosting more than 100 airlines and flights to over 300 destinations around the world.
The €6 billion ($7.2 billion) first stage, which was built in nearly three years through a public-private partnership model, is one of a series of mega-projects planned for Turkey’s 2023 centennial.
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The White House has not announced a date for that meeting.
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