2.5 million spectators attend one of the world’s biggest ever airshows in Istanbul

Organisers of Istanbul Teknofest 2023 have claimed public attendence of more than 2.5 million people, making it one of the biggest airshows ever held.

Photo: Teknofest

Teknofest, a multi-location festival first held in 2018, is run by the Ministry of Industry and Technology and the T3 Foundation, a group promoting the development of the Turkish technology industry. It has been held across Turkey and western Asia, drawing crowds of up to one million, but the latest edition,held at Istanbul’s former Atatürk International Airport on the 27th April to the 1st of May, has more than doubled the event’s previous attendence records.

The event featured daily air displays by three national aerobatic teams – Türkiye’s Turkish Stars, Morocco’s Marche Verte and the UAE’s Al Fursan – as well as solo displays by the Turkish Air Force’s F-16C, S-70 and CN-235 and a large variety of Turkish-designed aircraft, including Bayraktar’s TB2, Akinci and Kizilelma UCAVs and TAI’s T129 ATAK and Hürkuş. The event also included static displays, exhibitions, a careers fair and a series of technology competitions which drew 50,000 competitors from more than 100 countries.

The total reported crowd size of 2.5 million spectators was likely the biggest ever crowd at an airfield-based airshow, eclipsing attendence at other major events like EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh by five times and that of the Royal International Air Tattoo by nearly 15 times. The only other airshow in recent years that may have come close to matching Teknofest’s figure is the Pacific Airshow 2019, which event organisers claim attracted more than three million spectators. However, this figure is widely disputed and local media estimated attendence of 1.5 to 2 million, while one more conservative impact report suggested attendence of around 750,000 was more likely. Other major seaside shows in the USA and the UK have also occasionally neared attendence figures of one million spectators.

There will be two more editions of Teknofest held in Türkiye this year, with a show in Ankara on the 30th August-3rd September and another in Izmir later in the year. Each one is expected to attract at least one million further spectators.