President Erdogan Inaugurates High-Speed Metro Line Connecting Istanbul City Center to Europe's Busiest Airport

  • 23 January 2023

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated Istanbul's new high-speed metro line on Sunday, connecting the city center to the Istanbul Airport, which is set to be Europe's busiest airport in 2022. The 34-kilometer metro link is the first railway connection to the airport and will run from the Kağıthane neighborhood through the Eyüpsultan and Arnavutköy districts before reaching the airport. This new line has a capacity of 800,000 passengers per day and will take just 24 minutes to reach the airport from Kağıthane.

The link promises to add to an already dense transportation network in Istanbul, Europe's largest city straddling Europe and Asia. It will also further boost passenger and cargo mobility, which is likely to mobilize greater and faster links with Europe. The Istanbul Airport, which was officially declared open in late October 2018 before becoming fully operational in April 2019, is dubbed the busiest airport in Europe with an average of 1,156 daily flights last year.

President Erdogan also noted that the government integrated the recently inaugurated metro line in Mahmutbey with a metro line in Kağıthane, and plans to connect this line with Zincirlikuyu Metrobus stop in a few months. He also highlighted that the signaling system of the newly opened metro was produced by leading Turkish defense company Aselsan in cooperation with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBITAK).

"Domestically designed and produced vehicles that will operate on the line will also serve with domestic batteries. Türkiye has proven its strength and capability in the subway's construction line with this project to the entire world", Erdoğan emphasized.

The President also announced that work on additional subway line projects such as Istanbul Airport to Arnavutköy to Halkalı, Bakırköy-Bağcılar, Başakşehir-Kayaşehir, Kazlıçeşme-Sirkeci and Altunizade-Bosna Boulevard lines are underway and when completed, will have increased the network of Istanbul's rail system to over 380 kilometers (236.1 miles).

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu previously said in a live broadcast that the metro line to the Istanbul Airport will be the fastest metro in Europe, with 120 kph (75 mph). Türkiye is also looking to connect a high-speed train line between Istanbul and Ankara to the two airports in the metropolis, Karaismailoğlu had announced earlier. The project that will link the railway line to Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the Anatolian side and Istanbul Airport on the European side of the city is nearing the tender stage, Karaismailoğlu said.

The Ankara-Istanbul high-speed train line will leave the Gebze district of northwestern Kocaeli province, cross the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and stop at Sabiha Gökçen Airport before reaching Istanbul Airport. The Minister maintained that "It will reach Istanbul Airport and continue to Europe from there. We will connect our Istanbul Airport with our high-speed train network". However, Karaismailoğlu did not delve further into the timeline of the tender for the project.