Turkish transport minister refutes claims of damage in out-of-use Istanbul airport
Turkey's Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu refuted claims that a pandemic hospital that was built in Istanbul's Atatürk Airport had damaged the runways. The minister claimed that the equipment didn't interrupt operations and that the only way a plane would land in the airport was in an emergency.
Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR
Turkey's Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu refuted claims that the pandemic hospital construction in Atatürk Airport had damaged the runways by breaking the concrete.
In response to a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi inquiring about two runways being cracked on April 15, the minister said that the construction wasn't intrusive on flight operations.
"The pandemic hospital that was completed doesn't currently affect [planes'] approach, take-off, bypass, taxi etc.," the minister said, adding that current installment didn't present an obstacle to flying according to international standards.
The minister also said that it was the Health Ministry's Investments Directorate that decided on the location of the pandemic hospital.
The minister failed to answer a question about how many planes had landed on or taken off of the broken runways, instead simply noting that the airport's ownership had been transferred to the Environment and Urbanization Ministry.
Noting that the last flight at the airport was conducted on September 13, 2019 for a state technology festival, Karaismailoğlu said that Atatürk Airport would only be used for a landing if a pilot declared an emergency to the tower.
However, the deputy slammed the minister's response by saying that "it's well known that these runways were used for cargo planes until April 15, 2020."
"How can the ministry not know this! The ministry also hid traffic on the broken runways," Ilgezdi said.Turkish Airlines flight attendant recounts her fears of working at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak