Istanbul New Airport

The new airport was built about 22 miles (35 km) northwest of the city, on the European side of Istanbul. It was built mainly due to the lack of space for further expansion of the existing Atatürk Airport. The ageing airport is overloaded, so it has ceased to meet the needs and ambitions of the rapidly growing Turkish Airlines.

Istanbul Atatürk Airport
Istanbul New Airport

The airport’s grand opening coincided with the celebrations of the 95th anniversary of Türkiye becoming a Republic. The airport was opened on October 29, 2018. Its official name – confirmed on an opening day by President Erdogan – is “Istanbul New Airport”. However, the full launch of the airport and its final expansion were spread over time for 10 years.

In phase one (October-December’18) of the New Airport, there were launched two operational runways and two local airlines. By December 2018 both airports (“New Airport” and Atatürk Airport) will operate simultaneously. At the end of 2018, the third operational runway will be opened there. Also, at the same time, the currently operating Atatürk Airport will be closed. At this point, the new airport will have the world’s largest single-roofed terminal, with an area of 15 million square feet. It is also estimated to have a capacity of 90 million passengers per year. It will officially complete phase one of the construction works.

Istanbul New Airport. The next stages of the expansion

In the following stages of the airport development, among others, there will be road infrastructure built: two metro lines, a motorway and a rapid train. The railway line will connect Istanbul New Airport with the Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Anatolian side of the city.

By 2028, the new airport is going to operate with 6 runways and its annual capacity is estimated at 200 million passengers. Is it possible? As a comparison – in 2017 the Atatürk Airport reached the result of 64 million passengers. The current largest airport in the world – Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, in 2017 had 104 million passengers passing through its terminal. It seems, therefore, that plans for the development of the new airport in Istanbul are very ambitious. The New Airport will occupy an area of approximately 76 thousand square kilometres, which (as a comparison) will be larger than the area of Manhattan Island (56 km2).

When the new airport is completed – it will be the largest one in the world with an unimaginable network of connections to over 300 destinations.

Istanbul New Airport
Istanbul aeroplane view

Architecture and ecology

The new airport’s terminal was built in a style reminiscent of traditional Istanbul’s domed mosques and baths. The shape of the air traffic control tower, which was inspired by the tulip flower, also deserves recognition. Interesting fact: the tulip is one of the most recognizable traditional symbols of Istanbul, and the name of the flower is derived from the Turkish word “tulbent” meaning turban. During the Ottoman Empire, the tulip was a symbol of the sultan’s power. The air traffic control tower project won first prize in the “Future projects – Infrastructure” category at the 2016 World Architecture Festival in Berlin.

The Istanbul New Airport calls itself a “green” airport, thanks to the possibilities of recycling and the use of rainwater. However, it is worth remembering that the airport’s construction was accompanied by massive deforestation. In this case – the question, of whether the balance in nature will be kept, is still unanswered.

When the New Airport was partially opened in November’18, heavy construction works were still happening inside. What was open for travellers, was still an empty area. Most stores remained closed, and there was only a small duty-free shop open. For a more convenient airport experience, passengers had to wait a few more weeks.

The new airport is now open!

The New Istanbul Airport’s official opening happened in April 2019. A few weeks after the opening it looked as below.

Several proposals have already appeared on the market regarding airport pickup. Below you can find the latest offer I found.  It seems to be very attractive in price, that’s why I’m writing about it. You may be interested in this transport option.

Guide to the Istanbul Airport terminal

The national airline – Turkish Airlines has prepared a new information leaflet for their passengers. We can find out what the new Istanbul Airport layout looks like on the level of arrivals and departures. It’s worth checking it upfront.

At the Departure level, there are several entrances to the airport, which are intended for various types of passengers. For example, two gates are the closest to the domestic Turkish Airlines gates. There are also gates suggested to be used by international flight passengers and other gates for VIP clients or business class passengers.

On the Arrival level, there are, among others: bus stops, parking lots, taxi and tourist information points.

Istanbul new Airport Departure Level map
Istanbul Airport Departure Level
Istanbul New Airport Arrival Level map
Istanbul Airport Arrival Level

A more detailed map of the New Istanbul Airport also can be found on

How to get to/ from Istanbul New Airport

Istanbul Taxi

As you step out of Istanbul Airport, the anticipation of exploring the bustling streets of this vibrant city fills the air. But before you immerse yourself in the sights and sounds, there’s the matter of transportation to address. Istanbul Airport’s taxi service is available, offering a convenient and reliable way to kickstart your adventure.

But there’s more to these taxis than meets the eye. UKOME has introduced differentiated pricing tariffs for the various taxi categories to enhance service quality and promote eco-friendly transportation. This move not only ensures fair pricing but also incentivizes the adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

Taxi in Türkiye – three distinct categories

Among the fleet of taxis waiting to whisk you away, you’ll notice three distinct categories: the energetic orange ‘C‘ type taxis, the vibrant turquoise ‘D‘ type taxis, and the sleek black ‘E’ type luxury taxis. Each category offers a unique experience, catering to different preferences and budgets.

According to the UKOME-administered tariff, turquoise taxi fares are set 15% higher than orange taxi fares. This adjustment reflects the commitment to promoting environmentally friendly transportation options while maintaining affordability for passengers. So, if you’re conscious about reducing your carbon footprint, opting for a turquoise taxi is a step in the right direction.

For those seeking a touch of luxury and elegance, the black ‘E’ type taxis await. However, indulging in luxury comes at a premium, with fares set a striking 70% higher than their orange counterparts. Yet, for many travellers, the promise of comfort and sophistication is well worth the additional cost.

As you settle into your chosen taxi, you can rest assured that the pricing structure is designed to be transparent and fair. Gone are the days of haggling over fares or worrying about being overcharged. With UKOME’s regulated tariff in place, you can focus on enjoying the journey ahead.

So, whether you opt for the eco-friendly turquoise taxi, the luxurious black taxi, or the vibrant orange taxi, know that you’re not just embarking on a ride through Istanbul’s bustling streets – you’re also contributing to a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come.

Istanbul - new airport

Istanbul Airport Shuttle Bus

From and to IST Airport. Shuttle service is available daily FROM 6:00 a.m. to  1:15 a.m.  Buses leave the airport every 30 minutes.

The price of a one-way ticket ranges between 70 and 215 TRY (2 – 6 euros). Havaist offers 11 different routes between the airport and the city centre. More information on the official website.

Havaist Istanbul Airport Bus Routes

Istanbul Airport Private Transfer

Skip the chaotic hustle and bustle of the airport and start your vacation stress-free with a luxury airport transfer. Hop on a comfortable, clean, and air-conditioned vehicle and enjoy your journey to the Istanbul City Centre.

Enjoy an economical private transfer from Istanbul airport to your hotel in Istanbul. The benefit of friendly drivers and taking advantage of a new, comfortable fleet of air-conditioned vehicles.

The price of a one-way ticket starts from 47 euros. Price is valid for a party of up to 4 travellers, for guests staying at hotels around Taksim, Beyoğlu, Fatih, Sultanahmet, and Beyazıt.


  • Enjoy hassle-free airport transfer from Istanbul Airport
  • Be comfortably transferred to your hotel in a luxury vehicle
  • If your flight is delayed the driver will wait free of charge
  • Carefree journey, with no hidden costs.

Simplify Your Istanbul Airport Connections with 12Go

Looking for hassle-free travel connections between Istanbul Airport and other Turkish cities or nearby countries? Say hello to 12Go* – your ultimate solution for seamless transportation arrangements. Here’s why you should choose 12Go for your airport connections:

  1. Convenience: With 12Go, you can easily book your transportation from Istanbul Airport to various destinations, all in one place. No more navigating multiple websites or queues – 12Go streamlines the process for you.
  2. Variety: Whether you’re heading to another Turkish city or exploring nearby countries, 12Go offers a diverse range of transportation options, including buses, shuttles, and even flights. Find the perfect itinerary to suit your travel preferences and schedule.
  3. Reliability: Rest assured knowing that your airport connections are in safe hands with 12Go. Partnering with trusted transportation providers, 12Go ensures reliable services and peace of mind throughout your journey.
  4. Flexibility: Need to make changes to your travel plans? 12Go offers flexible booking options, allowing you to adjust your itinerary with ease. Enjoy the freedom to adapt to evolving schedules or unforeseen circumstances without added stress.

Streamlining Your Istanbul Travel, All Your Transport Needs in One Place with 12Go
All Your Transport Needs in One Place with 12Go

Türkiye e-VISA

Are you travelling to Türkiye and need a visa to enter this country? What if you do not have enough time to apply for it or you do not know where to start the process?
I can recommend you a good company, that will take care of your application form and assist you in processing this document. You will pay the visa cost plus 30$ service fee. Click on the banner below and check the offer.

Get Your Türkiye Visa Online
Get Your Türkiye Visa Online

The Türkiye e-Visa is a travel authorization document that can be applied online and is available to nationalities of over 100 countries. It is valid for tourism and short business trips and, is valid for 180 days after arrival.

Depending on how fast you want to receive your visa, the price will change. The Standard Processing speed is 24 hours. Choosing this option costs 80$. Additionally, there are  2 faster options: Rush Processing (4 hours), for 102$ and Super Rush Processing (30 minutes) for 118 $. All prices include the government visa fee of 60$.

Türkiye – my other posts

I also encourage you to read my other posts about Istanbul, Cappadocia and Türkiye:

*links to the offer from iVisa, 12Go and MegaPass are affiliate

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