Aug 14 2019

Using new Istanbul airport for civil aviation may lead to tragedies - expert

Since the location of Istanbul’s new airport is problematic and work on its site has been insufficient, using it intensively for civil aviation poses important risks that cannot be solved by engineers, Cumhuriyet newspaper quoted ecology expert Doğan Kantarcı as saying in a report on Wednesday.

The new airport, one of the mega projects that have become a hallmark of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rule, has been the subject of criticism in Turkey since it became fully operational this year. 

Experts have said that its construction quality does not meet the international standards and that its location on the Black Sea coast can cause severe problems due to weather conditions in the area.

Kantarcı, a retired academic, told Cumhuriyet that the airport had been built on land that riddled with coal mining excavations. This is likely to lead to structural weaknesses in the foundation of the airport and its runways, the expert said. 

“Concrete has a low elasticity. The pressure the planes put on the surface while landing will in a short time transform it into an undulating structure,” Kantarcı said, adding that this could lead to sinkholes opening.

Meanwhile, the runways of the airport have also been built without taking into account the directions of strong winds that frequently hit the area, according to the expert. 

The surface winds blowing from northwest and northeast frequently create whirlpools by circulating through the hillsides surrounding the lower terrain, and those whirlpools could transform into cyclones, he said. 

“In summary the location of Istanbul’s third airport is wrong. Its terrain work is insufficient. The mistakes and inadequacies are at a scale that cannot be eliminated by the efforts of engineers.” the expert said. 

“Therefore, using this airport intensively for international civil aviation creates many problems and dangers,” he said.

According to Kantarcı, an airport that is not secure for planes to land on and take off from cannot be used for a long time. “They can be used as military airports or turn into ghost airports,” he said.