Earlier this year, I was in Batumi, Georgia, planning to travel to Trabzon, Turkey. By bus and dolmuş, the Turkish term for a shared van, it was expected to take just a few hours, including immigration procedures. However, given that I had a tight schedule to meet, I also didn’t want to risk getting stuck in between the two places, particularly during the off-season and the pandemic.
If you, too, have been a similar situation, I bring good tidings: northeastern Turkey (now Türkiye) is finally getting a new airport, and one slightly closer to the Georgian border at that.
On 14 May, Rize-Artvin Airport (IATA code: RZV), will be inaugurated by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ilham Aliyev, the leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan respectively. The first two destinations from Rize-Artvin Airport will be Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen (SAW), and Ankara Esenboğa (ESB), both flown by AnadoluJet.
The Rize-Artvin region, hugging the Black Sea, is known for its misty, verdant hills, hazelnuts, coffee, and tea production –in fact, Turkey is the world’s number one per capita consumer of tea.
This airport is an outlier in the aviation world, becoming only the fifth airport in the world (and second in Turkey, after Ordu-Giresun) to be built on an artificial island.
Rize-Artvin Airport, whose indoor area encompasses roughly 507 square feet, is expected to see three million passengers annually. Planning for its construction started in June 2016, according to CAPA – Centre for Aviation.