ISTANBUL, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The first phase of Istanbul's new airport was inaugurated on Monday with a grand ceremony attended by foreign leaders.
At the opening ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the name of the airport as "Istanbul Airport."
"The city's Ataturk Airport will maintain its status as an airport but will be closed to commercial flights," Erdogan said.
The new facility, which will cost about 11.6 billion U.S. dollars in total, is being built by a consortium of five contractors over an area of more than 76 million square meters.
"We see Istanbul Airport as an investment not only in our country but also in our region and the world," said Erdogan.
During its initial phase, the new airport is expected to serve 90 million passengers annually. When the remaining phases are completed by 2028, it is capable of serving 200 million passengers, making it one of the busiest in the world.
"Istanbul Airport will continue to grow for the next decade until all its phases completed by 2028, making the city a global travel hub linking Europe, Asia and Africa," Erdogan said.
The new airport will have the largest duty-free shopping complex in the world, covering an area of 53,000 square meters and consisting of many luxury stores.
The first plane is scheduled to take off from the airport on Wednesday to Turkey's capital city of Ankara, while the first international flight will be to northern Cyprus the following day.