Despite the negativities in our country in 2016, Sabiha Gökçen Airport continued to grow. While total aircraft traffic in Turkey decreased by 0,3%; the traffic at Sabiha Gökçen Airport increased by 5.8% and passenger traffic increased from 28.3 million to 29.7 million. Sabiha Gökçen Airport passed Ataturk Airport in domestic airline traffic in 2016 and has been placed in the 1st row. In the international airline traffic, it settled in the 2nd row behind Atatürk Airport. Sabiha Gökçen Airport's total number of aircraft has increased by 5% in 2016 to 230,486. In the last 5 years, the aircraft traffic has nearly doubled. The total number of passengers at Sabiha Gökçen Airport reached 29.650.037 with an increase of 5% in 2016.
According to the results announced by the International Airports Council (ACI), Sabiha Gökçen Airport was second in Europe with 27% growth in passenger growth rate compared to the passengers in 2014. In 2015, it was the fastest growing airport in its category with 19.7% growth. Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport has successfully achieved the title as the "Fastest Growing Airport" in a row for the last 7 years since 2009. It seems possible to achieve similar developments with the investments made for the coming years.
In order to keep pace with this rapid development, we have increased our aircraft parking capacity to 69 in 2013. In 2014, 11 parking spaces were added to this figure. The service we provide with one track for landing and launching of aircraft is about to reach its maximum capacity in the face of increased demand. For this reason, the first phase of the construction of the second track (infrastructure, tunnels and roads) was started in 2014 and construction works were started in 2015. Other works required for construction of the second track were made by DHMİ in 2016 and construction started in July 2016. Therefore, following the completion of the second track, the number of aircraft traffic and aircraft parking will increase exponentially. In order to increase the capacity and respond to some of the pending requests in this process, an additional 2 fast exit taxiway structures have been constructed to the existing track. Without disrupting the current operation, the passengers and aircraft operations have been completed with great effort and Express Departure Taxis will be opened to traffic before the intense summer season.
In addition, a new and modern maintenance center (My-Technic), which provides technical maintenance services for aircraft of various sizes and types in different countries, and a new and modern maintenance center which can serve aircraft in the second and bigger capacities are included to the airport (THY HABOM). Again, a new hangar and apron extension work for smaller aircraft such as business-jet and training aircraft was completed in 2014. General Aviation Apron zone and the General Aviation Hangar, which entered into service in 2015, are now in operation.
Due to the adverse meteorological conditions experienced during the winter months, the aircraft must be washed with anti-icing fluid against frost. Because of this operation, there are some restrictions in terms of capacity. In order to prevent this situation limiting the capacity and to minimize the suffering of passengers in winter months, the construction of a total of 105.000 m² apron area where 4 + 1 plane can be de-icing / anti-icing has been started and the field will be put into service this year.
Our airport conducts surveys to increase the current capacity and also we continue to work on adaptation to new technological developments in flight safety that are being used all over the world. In this context, the work of supplying the ground radar system has been completed in order to minimize the amount of ground incidents. Our second track is planned to include technical systems that can help aircraft to land even at the lowest sight distance, and it will also provide landing and departure opportunities for all large-body aircraft in terms of track length and width.
As the employees of General Directorate of HEAŞ, our main objective is to provide the most reliable and comfortable service within the framework of developing technologies for all the businesses receiving services in our airport. In this context, it will be our basic principle to put these possibilities and new developments into practice in our country in the coming years.