New, larger Ercan Airport set to open on TRNC Independence Day

After months of delay, a date has finally been set for the opening of the new terminal at Ercan Airport: 15 November 2022 – the day the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus was declared.

Transport Minister Erhan Arıklı had stated in July that they were working towards an opening in November. This was confirmed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Fikret Ataoğlu after he inspected works at the new terminal building with his Turkish counterpart, Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, last week.

Mr Ataoğlu said the airport’s electricity and lighting was expected to be completed in September, and as long as the airport passes all its tests, it will be put into service on 15 November.

Opened to civil aviation on 3 February 1975, Ercan Airport is the TRNC’s primary airport, handling about 4 million passengers a year prior to the pandemic.

With passenger and aircraft numbers rapidly growing, the Turkish Cypriot authorities had planned for a new terminal a decade ago.

Deputy PM & Tourism Minister Fikret Ataoğlu inspects the new Ercan

T&T Havalimanı İşletmeciliği won the tender for the work back in 2012, using the Build-Operate-Transfer model. However, due to political challenges, T&T were unable to start the construction work until 2016. At that time, the new terminal building was scheduled to finish in the second half of 2018, but the project was beset with financial problems, forcing its delay.

At the time of the tender, T&T had made a down-payment of €120 million of the estimated €225 million the project was meant to cost, with Deniz Bank one of the leading financiers. The aim was to give the TRNC a modern airport that was capable of handling larger aircraft and millions more passengers each year.

The size of the new terminal building, described as the TRNC’s “window to the world”, is 20,000 square meters, sitting on grounds that measure some 7.8 million sq meters – six times the airport’s current size.

The terminal parking area is ​​34,000 sq meters and its new main runway will be 2,755 meters long, which is in keeping with international standards for commercial aircraft.

The airport apron will have room for 30 parked aircraft, nine of which will have passenger boarding bridges.

Inside the new terminal building, there will be 60 check-in desks and 44 passport control points. Security is being beefed up to with 26 modern x-ray devices and a baggage screening and handling capacity of 5,000 per hour.

Aerial clip of the new Ercan Airport in April 2022

The new larger space and improved facilities means the airport’s passenger traffic can grow to 10 million passengers a year.

Most travellers currently come from Turkiye, but tourism to the TRNC from Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East continues to rise.

Ercan Airport is located 14 kilometres from the TRNC capital Lefkoşa /North Nicosia, 40 km from Gazimağusa / Famagusta and 44 km from Girne.

Ease of access to Ercan and its direct links to global travel hub Istanbul Airport has made it an increasingly popular choice for residents living in South Cyprus too.


Main photo, top, of the new Ercan Airport terminal building under construction, 2022. Photo © TAŞYAPI