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12 March 2019


In light of the growing number of passenger, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, the 12th largest airport in Europe, broke ground for the new Sabiha Gökçen Airport Mosque, which will accommodate nearly three thousand people and is slated for completion toward the end of this year. AK Party candidate for Istanbul Mayor Binali Yıldırım, former Minister of Transportation Ahmet Arslan, Vice President of Defense Industries Serdar Demirel, Deputy Governor of Istanbul Necip Çakmak, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad Chairman Tan Sri Zainun Ali, ISG Chairman Dato’ Mohd Izani bin Ghani and ISG CEO Ersel Göral, as well as prominent figures from business circles, politics and bureaucracy attended the ground-laying ceremony for the mosque that will feature influences of Seljuk architecture.

A ground-laying ceremony took place for the mosque, which will be built at the Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, the 12th largest airport in Europe in passenger numbers. Upon completion, the mosque that will be built at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport will accommodate up to 2,800 people for prayers. Spread on total 2,035 square meters, the mosque’s design inspiration is drawn from Seljuk architecture. The mosque is slated for completion toward the end of 2019. There are currently four masjids for men and four for women, open all hours inside the terminal.

Speaking at the ceremony, AK Party candidate for Istanbul Mayor Binali Yıldırım said, “We are gathered today at the Sabiha Gökçen Airport for a very nice and beneficial cause. We are very happy to see such great outcomes after all our efforts for many years. We are reaping the rewards of working day and night for Turkey, for Istanbul one by one. The more Istanbul grows, the more Turkey will grow. The more Sabiha Gökçen Airport grows, the more our aviation industry will grow. When Sabiha Gökçen Airport was first built before we took office, there wasn’t a soul around. There weren’t many planes or passengers. In 2002, only 47 thousand passengers used Sabiha Gökçen Airport. At this point today, it has exceeded 34 million passengers. This is an outstanding figure. With 34 million passengers, it is the 12th largest airport in Europe. Starting from scratch, Sabiha Gökçen became the 12th largest airport in Europe in 15 years. And it will keep growing. When we launch the second runway, we will reach a much greater capacity.”

Yıldırım added that the Sabiha Gökçen Airport’s metro connection will be completed next year, “Like Istanbul, this place is overflowing as well. It keeps growing. In line with this growth, we see what it needs and take the necessary measures. Transportation is a key issue for airports. The construction works for the metro connection continue right here. We expect the construction to be completed next year. So, the airport will be accessible not only by private vehicles and shuttles but also by a rail system and become integrated with the city. In the following years, we will feed support this airport by metro lines from both the south and also the north direction. Sabiha Gökçen Airport will continue to grow as the biggest destination on the Asian side. And while we do all of these, we will not neglect the spiritual needs of the people. Therefore, complementing our airports with mosques is a necessity of our civilization, our faith and also provides an opportunity to meet the worshipping needs of the arriving and departing passengers. This will not be a plain indoor space and it will feature our rich culture, tradition and influences of Seljuk architecture because airports make the first impression about that country on the arriving passengers and visitors. This why such a beautiful mosque, such a beautiful work of art was needed for Sabiha Gökçen Airport. I would also like to thank Sabiha Gökçen Airport’s operator for their willingness and efforts to make this mosque a reality.”

Yıldırım concluded his speech by saying, “Turkey will always make you proud of your investment. You will continue to grow your business in Istanbul, this city of the world. You can rest assured of that. Hopefully, when we have a say in the administration of this city, we will always open our doors to international investors that will contribute to the economy of Istanbul, to all kinds of initiatives and investments that will help make Istanbul a brand. We will support them. The fact that the mosque will be completed very quickly by the end of this year is great news. This mosque also has a different feature than Atatürk Airport and Esenboğa Airport. It will be connected to the airport terminal and the carpark. This is well thought. I would like to congratulate everyone for their contributions. I hope the ground we break today will be beneficial and auspicious.”

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) Chairman Tan Sri Zainun Ali stated that the company acquired 20 percent stake of Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport 11 years ago and demonstrated their complete confidence in the Turkish economy and the Turkish aviation industry, “By acquiring all stakes of ISG on of December 31, 2014, we confirmed and elevated our confidence in this strong country. Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen is a major asset for the Turkish economy and continues to deliver its role in the tourism, transportation and aviation industries successfully. With a strategic location that connects Asia and Europe, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport hosted 34.1 million passengers in 2018. With the second runway, which is a major investment for Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen and slated for completion late this year, we anticipate doubling the capacity of our airport. Once the metro connection investment, which is set to become operational later this year, is completed, Sabiha Gökçen will come one step closer to becoming the city airport of Istanbul. At Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, the happiness of our guests at all the airports we operate is our happiness. Today, we regard the mosque project, for which we are laying ground today, as an outcome of our philosophy. Presenting such a permanent architectural work to Istanbul makes us particularly happy.”

Ersel Göral, CEO of ISG, Sabiha Gökçen Airport’s operator, explained that since the company took over the operations 11 years ago, Sabiha Gökçen Airport has demonstrated consistent growth. Mr. Göral noted that this growth and the airport’s passenger-friendly approach entailed this mosque project, “Our airport terminal building, which broke ground during the term of Mr. Yıldırım, who is honoring us today, as Minister of Transportation, and which was opened on October 31, 2009 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, hosted more than 200 million passengers over the last 11 years. With 34.1 million passengers in 2018, we became the 12th largest airport in Europe in passenger numbers. As the terminal operator of Sabiha Gökçen Airport, one of the major players of Turkish civil aviation industry, our main goal has always been to achieve ultimate passenger satisfaction. Accordingly, we have taken steps for 11 years to respond to all the needs of our guests and we will continue to do so.”