Turkish Cargo moves all operations to new Istanbul mega-hub


Turkish Cargo is now handling all its Istanbul operations at the city’s new airport, following the transfer of freighter flights to its new SMARTIST facility.

The carrier moved its bellyhold cargo operations to the Istanbul Airport following its opening in April 2019, but continued to handle freighter flights at the old Ataturk Airport.

The relocation operation took 72 hours, performed by 50 trucks at the Relocation Control Center established at the Ataturk Airport. During the operation the trucks covered a distance of 16,000km, moving 4,125 pieces of equipment to Istanbul Airport.

Chief cargo officer of Turkish Airlines, Turhan Ozen, said: “During the last three years, we carried out a highly substantial operation in both of our hubs. While we made use of our freighters at the Ataturk Airport, we benefited from our passenger aircraft and the paxfre (cargo flights operated by a passenger aircraft without passengers on board)  capacity at Istanbul Airport. We performed approximately 30 thousand flights, 23,000 of which were performed by making use of our freighters and 6,000 of which were by paxfre, and we transported more than 4 million air cargo shipments, 2.5 million tons of which were transported from/to the Ataturk Airport and 1.8 million tons of which were transported from/to the Istanbul Airport.”

“Now, we are gathering the air cargo operations which we have been carrying out on a dual hub basis without compromising our service quality, under a single roof at Istanbul Airport. Thanks to SMARTIST, our new home with all of its processes equipped with autonomous and robotic systems, we are now ready for the future.”

The SMARTIST facility will ultimately have an annual capacity of 4 million tons on an area of 340,000sq metres (3.66m sq ft) on the completion of all phases. It is equipped with technologies such as Augmented Reality, Automatic Storage Systems, Robotic Process Automation and Unmanned Ground Vehicles,

The last Turkish Cargo flight to take off from Ataturk Airport was TK6455 to Khartoum, Sudan,  operated by an Airbus 330F.


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