A total of 179 planes had to be diverted from the new İstanbul Airport due to poor weather conditions in its first 69 days of operation, according to a statement from Turkey’s transportation minister, Cahit Turhan.
Turhan’s statement came in response to a parliamentary question from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Gamze Akkuş, who asked about disruptions in air traffic at the new airport, which was constructed despite objections from opposition parties and environmentalist organizations.
The minister argued that aborted landings were normal, saying that similar things also happen at airports abroad.
Experts have long been saying that the local bird population and the Black Sea’s unpredictable weather pose a safety threat to air traffic at the airport.
Earlier this week a Turkish Airlines (THY) aircraft sustained damage to its fuselage after hitting a flock of birds while landing at İstanbul Airport.
The B777-300ER had been scheduled to depart for Toronto; however, airline officials have withdrawn the aircraft from the flight.
In June a THY flight from Istanbul to Antalya was forced to land shortly after taking off from Istanbul Airport following a collision with a flock of birds.
The $12 billion project was declared open by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in October 2018.