Atatürk Airport, which used to receive most of the international flights to Istanbul, closed its doors for good on 6 April 2019. From now on, all flights that used to take off or land at Atatürk Airport have been redirected to Istanbul new International Airport (IST), or “Istanbul Havalimani” in Turkish.
Designed to handle 200 million passengers a year, the new Istanbul airport is a veritable mastodon that now replaces the old Atatürk airport. It is now, it seems, the largest airport in Europe in terms of capacity. With its ostentatious luxury design, its range of services and its state-of-the-art equipment, the new Istanbul airport rivals the world’s largest airports such as those of Dubai and Hong Kong.
Where is located Istanbul International Airport ?
The new Istanbul airport is located in the very north of the city on the European side, in the Tayakadin district of Arnavutkoy, 40 km from Taksim Square and 48 km from Sultanahmet Square.
How to transfer from Istanbul Airport ?
The bus is the best means of transport for small- and medium-budget travellers, and for people travelling alone.
- HAVAIST buses shuttle between the city and the new Istanbul airport. There are 5 major bus lines, each with 4 to 5 different stops throughout Istanbul. The price varies between 16 and 25 TL and the trips vary between 90 and 110 minutes. Check the Havaist bus timetable from the 20 pick-up points in the city (only 3 of which are in the Asian part of Istanbul at the moment). The name of Istanbul Airport stop is “Istanbul Havalimani“.
- The public bus stops more frequently and at many more stations so it is best to avoid it if you don’t have much time. There are 3 bus lines connecting Istanbul airport to the city.
If you are travelling in a group, it is best to share a taxi to Istanbul from the new Istanbul Airport. This is obviously the most expensive option but it is also the most comfortable mean of transport for a family, a group of friends or travellers with a lot of luggage.
The trip from Taksim or Sultanahmet (the historic district) to Istanbul airport by taxi should take 30/40 minutes and costs around 120/130 TL
Don’t hesitate to negotiate the price before getting in the taxi.
The car journey from Istanbul airport to Istanbul on the European side (Avcılar, Gayrettepe, Taksim, Levent, Maslak) is 40 to 50 km and between 50 km and 70 km to the Asian side (Kavacık, Üsküdar, Kadıköy, Pendik).
Car Rental: If you plan to visit the surroundings of Istanbul during your trip to Turkey, why not rent a car? Several car rental companies are available at Istanbul airport. It is recommended that you book a car online in advance before landing in Turkey.
With some friends: If you have friends or family in Istanbul, feel free to ask them to pick you up at the airport for a small dinner at the restaurant.
Parking: There is a huge secure car park with several floors.
If you have already booked your stay at a hotel in Istanbul, chances are the hotel offers airport transfer service with or without charge depending on the hotel. Always check with the hotel to see if the shuttle service to Istanbul airport is available. Prices can sometimes be cheaper than a taxi as several hotel guests share the shuttle. Prices vary depending on the hotel, its location in Istanbul and the number of passengers.
Major hotel chains often have shuttles at fixed times throughout the day to accompany their guests from the hotel to Istanbul airport.
Some hotels offer a paid transfer service to Istanbul airport by private vehicle at times that are most convenient for their guests.
Is it possible to spend the night at the new Istanbul Airport?
Yes, the New Istanbul Airport has a very convenient hotel located inside the airport. With its 451 cabins (rooms) it is the largest airport hotel in Europe. Yotel Landside is accessible to everyone while Yotel Airside located after customs control is accessible to travellers with international flights. It is easy to sleep at the new Istanbul airport with all those options.
It is possible to book a cabin (room) for a minimum of 4 hours which can be very useful for travellers in transit and who want to take advantage of their long stopover to rest in the comfort of a hotel while staying inside the airport.
Drawback of Istanbul Airport’s terminal
As impressive, fresh and technologically advanced as the new Istanbul airport is, it has one major drawback. The terminal building is huge, divided into five concourses, but there is only one security area for domestic flights and another for international passengers. This, combined with the lack of any internal transit system (shuttle buses, trains, etc.), increases the risk of missing a flight. What’s more, the moving walkways are inadequate. The walking distance between the gates and from the central area of the terminal to each gate is considerable, making transfers within the airport time-consuming and difficult. Passengers are advised to arrive at Istanbul International Airport around 3 hours before their flight in order to reach their gate without stress.