What You Need to Know About the New Istanbul Airport

istanbul airport
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Since the massive moving haul back in April, Ataturk Airport has now fully completed its rebranding operations to the new Istanbul Airport.

Though met with a few delays during the 33-hour continuous move, during which Turkish Airlines shifted 47,300 tonnes of equipment across the city, the airport has been declared fully functional and assigned Ataturk’s previous code IST. Ataturk’s remaining operations will be dedicated to non-commercial flights under the code ISL.

istanbul airport outside

Getting there

Located around 40km northwest from central Istanbul, on its European side, a metro will connect the airport to the city centre in a 25-minute journey, which will also link to other districts. Unfortunately, it is not scheduled to open until early next year as it is still under construction.

Travellers in the meantime have the options of taking a taxi (Uber operates only within the city), or ‘Havaist’ bus network that runs on 20 lines to the airport.

Getting around

The airport sits on a humongous spread of 7,650 hectares (that’s 6,523 hectares larger than Heathrow!) and has obviously become one of the biggest in the world. Although only one terminal is currently operational, the airport will have four international piers and one domestic stretching over 1.4 million sqm.

istanbul airport inside

Visitors are advised to download the airport app which will feature real-time journey information, indoor navigation, WiFi access, shops and food and beverage outlet information, and transport options and updates. Keep in mind that you will be doing a lot of walking!

The airport is also slated to utilize state-of-the-art technology to aid passengers find their way around. From robots, artificial intelligence, face-recognition, and other tech to speed up airport processes, with 36 self-service bag drop points across two check-in counters, 566 check-in points, and further expansion of the facial recognition tech in the coming years, the Istanbul Airport is set to become one of the leading transition points of the modern world.


A 24-hour IGA-operated lounge covering 4,420 sqm with the ability to host 584 people featuring two meeting rooms, four quiet rooms, and a kids’ room (with billiard tables, game areas, private cinema rooms, and showers).


Yotel properties at the airport, ranging from 277-room landside hotel and 174-room airside (only available to international passengers and bookable for a minimun of four hours). A Park Inn by Radisson is 15 minute-drive away and has meeting and event facilities available.

Future plans

It doesn’t end there! Istanbul Airport is set to grow well beyond its current size and functionality, with several phases mapped out for future development.


A four-zone ‘Airport City’, which will contain an aviation academy, university, more hotels, retail, serviced apartments, office spaces, cultural and conference spaces, museum, exhibition spaces, and even a hospital facility.

The next phases of construction will be targeted for completion at the beginning of 2020 (second ATC tower, third and fourth runways), the opening of the aforementioned ‘Airport City’ zone, and the launching of new metro lines. The end of 2020 foresees a second terminal building, a fifth runway, a thrid ATC tower, and more supporting facilities.

The entire project is hoped to wrap up by 2028, with the completion of runway number 6 and a satellite terminal.

Turkish Airline’s Celebration

turkish airline new uniform

In conjunction with the opening of the Istanbul Airport, Turkish Airline also unveiled new cabin crew uniforms as part of its 85-year history celebration. Designed by Milan-based Haute Couturier Ettore Bilotta, the new uniforms pay homage to Turkish artworks, and incorporate motifs and patterns found in the region’s glassware, ceramics, and calligraphy with contemporary textures.

Pay attention to the ‘flow’ detail representing Istanbul’s Bosphorus river, symbolising the dynamic intersection between East and West Turkey!

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