Simulating the new Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) in real-time

The ne Istanbul grand airport

Istanbul New Airport is an international airport under construction in Arnavutköy district on the European side of Istanbul, Turkey. The airport is planned as the largest airport in the world with a 150 million annual passenger capacity.

In 2017, Turkey handled 1,415,593 flights; this figure is expected to double in the next decade. In order to prepare for this massive growth in flights the new Istanbul Grand Airport is being built.

The General Directorate of State Airports Authority, DHMI, of Turkey are preparing for the opening of a third airport to serve Istanbul. When complete, Istanbul New Airport is slated to become the largest airport in the world.

Opening in 2018, the airport’s first phase will see the introduction of two parallel runways with a capacity of 40 arrivals and 40 departures per hour. More runways are planned and in the final phase, six runways will carry some 150 million passengers to this Istanbul airport every year.

EUROCONTROL and DHMI Turkey ran a series of real-time simulation sessions to support the implementation of Phase 1 with a radically new airspace design for the Istanbul TMA (terminal manoeuvring area).

The simulated airspace included 14 ATC approach sectors in three layers from ground to FL245, with the inclusion of three airports, LTBA (Istanbul Atatürk Airport), LTFJ (Sabiha Gökçen International Airport) and LTFM (the Istanbul New Airport).

In order to create the most possible capacity, three Point Merge Systems (PMS) were designed and will operate at the same time. They will be associated with a new design of complex SID/STAR (Standard Instrument Departures/ Standard Instrument Arrivals) and holdings.

The simulator was adapted to faithfully replicate the future DHMI system with all the requisite ATC tools.

The simulation exercises

The simulation exercises covered:

  • STAR and transition changes during the approach;
  • “RWY in use” change exercises;
  • missed and break-out approaches with reintegration of flights;
  • complex weather situations;
  • intelligent speed-tuning and constraints configuration -

all in a very high traffic demand environment.

Intensive and advanced human factors analyses were carried out and fed with objective and subjective, quantitative and qualitative data from 90 measured exercises.

The simulation took over eight weeks to run, between end October 2017 and end January 2018.

A total of 11 different scenarios with four airspace designs will have been assessed, with the involvement of over 300 DHMI air traffic controllers.

Last week, a delegation of DHMI senior management and Turkish Airlines representatives visited the simulation and were welcomed by Razvan Bucuroiu, Head of NMD Strategy, and Philippe Debels, Head of Simulations, both from the Network Manager Directorate at EUROCONTROL, at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre.

This exercise demonstrated the close working relationship between the Network Manager and DHMI. DHMI expressed how pleased they were with this and with the service provided by NM.

"Turkey is a major actor in European ATM and Istanbul is an exciting and vital project for DHMI. We are delighted to be working closely with our colleagues in Turkey to help them achieve safe and efficient performance right from the start".

Joe Sultana (former) Director Network Manager, EUROCONTROL

The Network Manager carries out air traffic management network functions for the European Commission, on behalf of EUROCONTROL which was nominated for this task. Working with its stakeholders, the Network Manager develops and runs the European ATM network (covering 43 countries), with the aim of meeting the Single European Sky’s performance targets.

Real-time simulations for the new Istanbul Grand Airport

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