By Nahrain John @karryontravel10 May 2019The ‘Second Rome’ of Europe is taking on the likes of Atlanta, Beijing, Dubai & Los Angeles with the opening of a new $12 billion airport that’ll handle some 200 million passengers every year.Flights from Turkey’s ambitious new $12 billion gateway – Istanbul Airport – took off in April after an official inauguration hosted by the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.Located on the European side of the Arnavutköy district, Istanbul Airport opened as a separate entity from the country’s existing Ataturk Airport until the end of the year when the new multi-billion dollar gateway will absorb the ‘IST’ international airport code and replace the old site. Ataturk Airport will then cease commercial operations and run as a private airfield.Spearheaded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Istanbul Airport is designed to transform the European country into a global transit hub between Asia, Africa and Europe, Reuters reported.While only a handful of flights have utilised the airport during its opening week, the gateway will be capable of handling some 90 million flyers by 2021 and 200 million passengers by 2028.Once running at full capacity, the gateway will be the largest in the world, even overtaking the current largest Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which transports 107 million people per year.Inside Istanbul Airport, flyers will find some 818 million square feet of space, 592 square feet of which will feature duty-free shopping outlets. There’ll also a 451-room boutique hotel called ‘Yotel’ with both land and air-side access.Despite playing a positive role for the future of Turkey’s aviation industry, Istanbul Airport has been plagued with controversy, including the passing of 27 workers who died since construction started in 2015, as well as the 1.5metres of trees that were removed from Bosphorus forest to make way for infrastructure. READ: Top 10 travel tips for TurkeyREAD: Turkish Airlines bans illegal flying of protected birdREAD: Check out Turkish Airlines’ new Istanbul inspired cabin uniformsWhat do you think of the new gateway? Other stories you may likeIceland bans tourists from the canyon Jon Snow rode a dragon over in Game of ThronesSCENIC 2020: New Europe River cruising program launched with fly free offerEUROPERKS: How to score a $50 gift card when you book a Europe cruise!