How Many International Airports are in Istanbul, Turkey?

Are you wondering how many international airports are in Istanbul? Istanbul, which is the largest city in Turkey and a major hub for international travel, has three airports. Istanbul International Airport is the primary entry point into Turkey, but Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and Atatürk Airport also provide connections to regional and international destinations. With these options available, travelers can select an airport that best suits their needs when traveling to or from Istanbul.


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international airport in Istanbul

Istanbul International Airport

Istanbul International Airport is the main gateway into Turkey, offering a wide range of international connections. This is the new Istanbul Airport, located on the European side of the city, opened to passengers in April 2019. The airport is one of the largest terminals and most advanced airports in the world, featuring six runways and a capacity for up to 90 million passengers per year. It’s a family friendly airport with features to benefit families with children of all ages. It offers direct connections to destinations around Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America and is the main hub for Turkish Airlines.

Istanbul Airport Mobile App

The IST Mobile App provides features like Flight Tracking, Home to Gate, and the IST Map to make your trips fun and easy. You can plan your time according to your preferences and navigate the world’s largest airport effortlessly to enjoy a stress-free trip.

Amenities at IST Airport

Istanbul Airport (IST) is a modern facility offering travelers everything they need for a comfortable and convenient journey. The airport features over 40 restaurants and cafes, and full Wi-Fi access throughout the terminal, and various museums and exhibitions. It offers an expansive duty-free shopping area with over 100 stores. With its state-of-the-art facilities and easy access from both sides of Istanbul by metro or bus lines, it’s no wonder why this airport is quickly becoming a favorite among travelers visiting Turkey.

Hotels at Istanbul International Airport

The YOTEL Istanbul Airport Hotel has a total of 451 rooms. There are 171 rooms located landside, which anyone can book, and 280 rooms located airside which can only be booked by people with international flights to or from Istanbul Airport. The airside hotel is located within the Duty Free area and can only be accessed once you have gone through passport control.

Child & Family Friendly Istanbul Airport

IST Airport’s family friendly concept has plenty of bonuses for families and kids of all ages. Our favorite things for families are:

  • Family car parking spots close to entrances and elevators
  • Allocated security checkpoints for families with kids 0-5 years old
  • Family & baby care rooms for breastfeeding moms and diaper changing stations
  • Children’s playgrounds with different aviation themes around each gate
  • Strollers for guests who need to check their strollers on their flight or are picking up strollers at baggage claim.
  • Buggy’s for families with kids to travel within the terminal. The service is free of charge if you have littles from 0-2 years old.
  • Fast pass zones prioritizing families with kids getting through lines fast.
  • Youth Lounge for your older kids including wifi, Play Station, foosball, board games and comics.

Nap zone & Sleep pod Areas

For travelers looking to rest in between flights, the airport offers a number of nap zones and a sleep pod area. These areas provide comfortable beds for passengers to take naps during their layover or overnight stay at the airport. 6 nap zones are located throughout the terminal, while the 26 sleep pods are situated in dedicated lounge space.

Security at the International Airport in Istanbul

IST boasts top-tier security measures as well as friendly staff members who are available to answer any questions, making it a popular choice among travelers looking for convenience and comfort when traveling through Istanbul.

Where is the Istanbul Airport?

Istanbul International Airport is located on the European side of Istanbul. The airport is conveniently situated close to major highways, making it easily accessible by car and public transportation. Travel from IST Airport to Istanbul city center is 42 km, which is about a 45 minute ride.

Cons of the New Airport in Istanbul

The new Istanbul Airport is impressive and technologically advanced, but it covers a very large area of over 1.440.000m2. Unfortunately, there is no internal transit system in place yet. This increases the risk of missing flights due to the long walking distances between gates making transfers inside the airport time-consuming.

Ultimately, travelers should arrive at Istanbul International Airport 2.5-3 hours before their flight to ensure they can reach their gate on time.

Next, let’s look at the airport on the Asian side of Istanbul.

sabiha gokcen airport

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport

Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport opened in 2001. The airport is named after Sabiha Gökçen, a Turkish aviator and first female fighter pilot in the world. This airport has a more limited selection of international connections but still provides travelers with convenient access to many destinations in Turkey with some international connections too. SAW is hub to local airlines such as Pegasus Airlines and Anadolu Jet.

Amenities at SAW Airport

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) offers travelers a wide range of modern amenities to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free journey. With over 70 restaurants and cafes, and 30 stores and a 4500 sqm duty free area, travelers can easily find what they need during their time at the airport. Furthermore, SAW has free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal along with full security measures for added peace of mind.

Sabiha Gökçen Airport Hotel

Sabiha Gokcen Airport Hotel is a boutique hotel with 4 floors hosting 128 rooms just outside the passenger terminal of the airport. The free shuttle service is available 24/7 between the hotel and the terminal building departing every 30 minutes.

Where is Sabiha Gökçen International Airport?

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, providing travelers with convenient access to major highways. SAW is easily accessible by car and public transportation. SAW is located 31km from Kadikoy or catch a ferry to visit the European side of Istanbul.

How do I get from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the Istanbul Airport?

An inexpensive way for travelers to get from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Istanbul Airport is to ride the HavaIST Pendik (IST-8) shuttles. Travelers are picked up in the parking area across from the Arrivals terminal.

private jets Ataturk airport

Atatürk International Airport

Atatürk Airport, which is the third and smallest airport in Istanbul and is situated on the European side of the city, has ceased to offer commercial flights since 2019. Presently, 40% of the airport is used for general aviation, military flights, and VIP private jet services. The remaining area, which covers 5.2 million square meters, is set to be transformed into the Ataturk Airport National Park, one of the world’s largest parks.

Which Istanbul Airport is the Best to Fly Into?

Istanbul has two major airports for travelers, Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW). IST is the larger of the two airports and provides more international connections than SAW. Located on the European side of Istanbul, IST offers easy access to destinations around the world with convenient access to major airports within Turkey.

Meanwhile, SAW is located on the Asian side of Istanbul and serves a more limited selection of international connections but still provides travelers with convenience to many regional destinations in Turkey.

Both airports offer travelers a wide range of modern facilities including restaurants and cafes, duty free shopping and stores, free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal along with full security. You can fly to all the most popular destinations in Turkey from either airport:

Make sure if you are flying to another destination after flying into Istanbul, that your connecting flight is booked at the same airport or you will need to have a transfer planned to the other airport on the opposite side of the city.

airport transfers

Airport Transfers in Istanbul

For travelers to Istanbul, Turkey, there are several options for airport transfers. Depending on your destination in Istanbul, you can choose between taxi, private transfer, or public transportation to get from any of these airports to your destination. We do not recommend renting a car in Istanbul due to traffic and difficulty finding a place to park within the city. It’s easy to find a transfer option that fits your needs and budget.

Take a Taxi

While this is not our favorite option, if you want a quick and easy way to get from the Istanbul airport to your hotel, you can take a taxi. Make sure the taxi has their meter on when you start your ride.

Private Transfers

A private transfer from the airport in Istanbul is a great option if you are traveling with your family or a small group. They’ll be able to handle all your luggage and have a vehicle to accommodate your travel group.

Public Transportation

The bus and metro lines do run directly from the airports. It is an inexpensive way to travel into the city, but it will take more time. If you need a transfer between airports, the HavaIST is an inexpensive option that will take you directly from one terminal to the next terminal.

major Istanbul airports

Conclusion on International Airports in Istanbul

Istanbul is a world-renowned city with three major airports, Istanbul International Airport, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, and Atatürk International Airport. The airports offer travelers modern amenities to make their travel experience more enjoyable. IST offers easy access to destinations around the world while SAW provides convenience for regional flights in Turkey. Whether you are flying internationally or domestically within Turkey, these airports provide visitors with all they need during their time at the airport.