According to the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), Istanbul Airport (IST) saw a 12% surge in daily traffic as football fans were returning home after attending the 2023 Champions League Final in Istanbul.
Turkey’s main air hub, which already enjoys the status of Europe’s busiest, serviced 1,684 flights last Sunday, breaking the record of 1,624 flights set by Frankfurt Airport (FRA) on September 11, 2019.
The previous three daily arrival-departure records at a European airport were all set in quick succession in 2019 before the pandemic, according to Eurocontrol.
“The former record was held by Frankfurt, overtaking, in less than a month, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (1,612 daily flights on 26 August 2019), which in turn replaced Madrid Barajas (1,600 daily flights on 2 June 2019),” the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation said.
There was also a significant increase in daily flows in the home cities of the Champions League finalists. Traffic at Milan Malpensa Airport, the largest international airport in northern Italy, surged 54% week-over-week. Meanwhile, Manchester Airport saw a comparatively modest increase by 5% in its daily traffic.
Last month, Turkish transportation and infrastructure minister Adil Karaismailoglu reported that Istanbul Airport broke a new record on the number of daily flights and passenger flow. On April 30, it handled 195,640 passengers aboard 1,301 flights.
Opened four and a half years ago, Istanbul’s new airport is the larger of two international hubs serving the city. It replaced the older Ataturk Airport and has developed into a busy modern air facility connecting Europe and Asia. The hub serves as the base of operations for Star Alliance carrier Turkish Airlines. On May 6, the airport announced that it had served over 200 million passengers.
Istanbul’s new airport was able to capture some of the extra demand, due to current geopolitical tensions caused by Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine.
Among the most popular international routes for the city are flights to London, Dubai, and Tel Aviv. Tehran flights, the most popular route, have been traveled by around six million passengers since the airport opened in 2018.