Passenger traffic at Sabiha Gökçen airport hits record high as problems linger at new Istanbul airport

The number of passengers using Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen International Airport hits a record high despite newly-opened Istanbul airport, Airporthaber said on Sunday.

Istanbul Airport, which pro-government media has hailed as another success in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s long list of infrastructure mega-projects, has been widely criticised by others for the quality of its construction and location.

In the first eight months of the year, the number of international passengers at Sabiha Gökçen surged by 20 percent, reaching 23.5 million compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the website. 

When the new Istanbul Airport held its soft opening in November, concerns remained about workers’ conditions at the construction site after workers involved in significant protests last year due to poor hygiene and health and safety conditions on the construction site.

Besides, heavy rains left airport shuttles and buses under water, a series of flights were diverted to nearby Çorlu due to bad weather conditions and a plane hit a transmission pole during taxiing renewed questions over whether the project was rushed.