FILE - A terminal of the Istanbul's new airport is pictured prior to the official opening ceremony, in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 29, 2018.
FILE - A terminal of the Istanbul's new airport is pictured prior to the official opening ceremony, in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 29, 2018.

ISTANBUL - Istanbul's new airport will be fully operational on March 3, Turkey's Milliyet newspaper reported Thursday, after the $12 billion project was twice hit by delays.

The airport, which officials say will be one of the world's busiest, was declared open in October by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but only a handful of flights have been operating from the new site since then.

Its full operation was first delayed to January, in a setback for the government which has hailed it as a centerpiece of the construction boom that has driven strong economic growth under Erdogan's 15-year rule.

Citing a letter sent by airport authorities, Milliyet said the date had been pushed back again until early March.

The airport will be able to handle 90 million passengers a year, and can be expanded to accommodate as many as 200 million, Erdogan said at the opening ceremony.

Videos posted on social media since then have shown rain leaking heavily into a waterlogged passenger terminal, and a flooded car park at the new airport.