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.
The grand opening of the airport coincided with the celebrations of the 95th anniversary of Turkey 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 overtime 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. 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. 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.
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 is inspired by the tulip flower, also deserves recognition. The tulip is one of the most recognizable traditional symbols of Istanbul. 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 construction of the airport was accompanied by massive deforestation. In this case – the question, whether the balance in nature will be kept, is still unanswered.
When the New Airport has been partially opened on 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 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 IST airport terminal
The national airlines – Turkish Airlines have 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, there are two gates that are the closest to the domestic Turkish airlines’ gates. There are also gates suggested being used by the international flight’s 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. Beware: the airport car park is free of charge until the 15th of April!
A more detailed map of the New Istanbul Airport can be found as well on the New IST Airport website.
How to get to IST Airport – public transport
Currently (end of 2018), there are not many possibilities. The new airport can be reached by car via a highway or by bus. Bus connections are served by city lines (yellow buses) and by private lines (white buses).
- H-2 Mecidiyeköy, business district
- H-3 Halikali. There is an easternmost railway station of Istanbul, serving the international routes i.e. to Bucharest, Sofia and Belgrade
- IST-7 runs between the Istanbul New Airport and the current Atatürk Airport
Private buses will drive to:
- IST-1 Yenikapi in Fatih district, on the European side of the Bosphorus. Over the Golden Horn bay, there is a transfer port and the Marmaray Train station
- IST -2 Tuyap, where the Congress Center is located
- IST-7 residential area of Kozyatagi on the Anatolian side of the city
- IST-19 -Taksim Square on the European part of the Istanbul
The current estimated journey time from Istanbul New Airport to the city centre will take us about 60-90 minutes with low traffic jams. Unfortunately, during rush hours it can take you even more than 120 minutes.
Taxi from the New Airport to the Istanbul city centre can cost you about 200 TL (38 $).
How to get to IST Airport – private offer
Here are a few possibilities to travel from the airport. Click any link below and you can buy all the below tickets with a 5% discount!
From and to IST Airport. Shuttle service is available daily FROM 6:00 a.m to 1:15 a.m. HAVAIST Online Ticket is an electronic ticket for an airport shuttle bus. Buses leave the airport every 30 minutes.
The price of a one-way ticket is 5$.
- Don’t wait in line, get the HAVAIST Bus ticket online
- Comfortable journey in luxury buses departing every 45 minutes
- Free WiFi, unlimited luggage, free e-booklet and 10% off at tours & tickets
There are several routes in the offer. There are also several stops on each route, so you can get off or get on each of them.
Line HVIST-12 to BEYAZIT SQUARE – Sultanahmet (Former line IST-20)
Transfer time: 100 minutes and 6 Stops
- ISTANBUL AIRPORT
- BEYAZIT SQUARE
Line HVIST-14 to Taksim SQUARE
Transfer time: 90 minutes and 5 Stops
- ISTANBUL AIRPORT
- 4. LEVENT
- ZINCIRLIKUYU METROBUS STATION
- BESIKTAS PIER
- TAKSIM SQUARE
Line HVIST-9 to KADIKOY – METRO & PIER – Asian Side
Transfer time: 100 minutes and 4 Stops
- ISTANBUL AIRPORT
- KAVACIK BRIDGE
- ACIBADEM METRO
- KADIKOY METRO & PIER
[IST] to Hotel or Airport
- Istanbul Airport private transfer from 6,50 Euro per person
- Price is valid for all transfers to hotels at the European Side
- Service available 24/7
- Carefree journey, no hidden costs, nobody beats our price!
If you are 6 you pay only 6,50 Euro per person
If you are 4 you pay only 9,75 Euro per person
If you are 2 you pay only 19,50 Euro per person
Shared Transfer Shuttle
Price 28 Euro
- The convenient way to get to your hotel for a fair price
- The shared shuttle transfer is departing every hour
- Relax in the comfortable minibus and enjoy door to door service
- Unlimited luggage
COVID-19 PCR TEST in Istanbul
Are you currently planning to visit Istanbul during global pandemia? Do you wish to spend your summer holidays in the Turkish Riviera but you are not sure how to go thru covid-19 tests and what are the latest travel restrictions?
In 2021, all international passengers (min. 6 years old) travelling to Turkey are required to have taken a COVID–19 PCR test with a negative result within 72 hours prior to their flight.
Full, actual and easy to read information about Covid-19 restrictions in Turkey you can find at the website of the U.S. Embassy in Turkey. You can also find full information on the Turkish Airlines website.
But did you think where in Turkey it is possible to do the PCR test on your way back home? Or how to arrange the PCR test when leaving Turkey? Now, this is possible! In Istanbul, the certified lab is close to Taksim Square. With an additional fee, you can also choose the option where the laboratory staff comes to your hotel or apartment to administer the test!
Please check the link below where you can find more detailed info. You can also get the 5% discount if you register thru the link below.
It is also possible to make a PCR test directly at the airport, and this option is possible at Istanbul and Ankara airports only. The test fee is 250 TL (about $35).
- PCR testing is available at Istanbul Airport. There is no need for an appointment to visit the airport’s testing centre, as it is open 24/7. The testing centre is in front of Entrance 14 in Arrivals Hall. You must arrive at the airport at least 6 hours prior to your flight with a valid ticket and a valid passport, test results take up to 5 hours.
- PCR testing is also available at Ankara Esenboğa Airport. There is no need for an appointment to visit the airport’s testing centre, as it is open 24/7. The testing centre is located in the International Departures Terminal, past the checkpoint, on the ground floor by the First Aid Office. You must arrive at the airport at least 7 hours prior to your flight with a valid ticket and a valid passport, as test results take up to 6 hours.
Turkey – my other posts
I also encourage you to read my other posts about Istanbul, Cappadocia and Turkey: