Istanbul Airport Metro

Istanbul Airport Metro
Istanbul Airport Metro

As a traveler to Istanbul, navigating this vast metropolis can prove daunting, with its winding roads and heavy traffic congestion. However, the newly opened Istanbul Airport Metro provides you with an efficient and affordable means to traverse the distances of this sprawling city. With clean, modern trains and reasonable fares, the metro system connects you to the city’s main attractions and neighborhoods.

This Istanbul Airport metro line, known as M11, is a vital artery connecting Istanbul Airport—one of the world’s largest airports—to the city center, ensuring a seamless, rapid transit solution for millions of passengers annually.

Overview of the Istanbul Airport Metro

The Istanbul Airport Metro, or M11 line, began its service to ease the journey of travelers moving between the airport and central Istanbul. Spanning approximately 37 kilometers, the M11 stretches from Istanbul Airport to Gayrettepe, a central neighborhood, facilitating a direct and efficient route into the heart of the city. The line boasts state-of-the-art stations that are designed not just for functionality but with aesthetic appeal and modern amenities to enhance the commuter experience.

From its inception to operation, the M11 line is a feat of engineering and planning. Featuring a total of nine stations, each equipped with advanced technology for safety and efficiency, the metro operates with a capacity to handle thousands of passengers per hour. Trains are scheduled at regular intervals, minimizing wait times and optimizing flow during peak and off-peak hours. This metro line is not just a mode of transport but a critical infrastructure designed to bolster Istanbul’s connectivity and accessibility.

Istanbul Airport Metro Stops

  1. Gayrettepe
  2. Kağıthane
  3. Üniversite-Hasdal​​
  4. Kemerburgaz
  5. Göktürk
  6. İhsaniye
  7. İstanbul Havalimanı
  8. Kargo Terminali
  9. Taşoluk
  10. Arnavutköy

Fares and Tickets

The Istanbul Airport Metro uses the Istanbulkart, Istanbul’s electronic fare card system. Rides on the metro cost TL 5.50 (approx. $0.90) per person with transfers valid for 120 minutes. Istanbulkart fares are slightly discounted versus paying cash. The Istanbulkart can be purchased and reloaded at metro stations. Roundtrip and tourist passes are also available for unlimited travel over 1 to 7 days.

Importance of the Metro Line

The introduction of the M11 line to Istanbul’s transport network has been transformative. Primarily, it significantly eases access to Istanbul Airport, which is crucial given the airport’s role as a major international gateway. For travelers, the metro line offers a reliable and cost-effective option compared to taxis or private shuttles, which are often subject to the city’s notorious traffic congestion.

Beyond convenience for travelers, the M11 metro line is a boon for Istanbul’s economy. By facilitating smoother, quicker trips to and from one of the world’s busiest airports, it enhances the city’s appeal as a business and tourist destination. Local businesses, hotels, and services benefit from the increased accessibility, potentially boosting tourism and commerce in areas connected by the metro.

Environmentally, the metro provides a sustainable alternative to road-based transport, which is significant in a city grappling with air pollution and traffic. By offering a cleaner, efficient mode of mass transportation, the M11 contributes to reducing the city’s carbon footprint, aligning with broader environmental goals and improving the quality of urban life.

Planning and Construction

The Istanbul Airport Metro project, a linchpin in Istanbul’s strategy to enhance its transport infrastructure, was conceptualized as part of the broader development surrounding the new Istanbul Airport. The project faced numerous challenges typical of large-scale infrastructure endeavors, including geological, logistical, and financial hurdles. Delays were a recurrent issue, mainly due to the technical complexities of tunneling beneath dense urban areas and the stringent safety standards required for such an extensive system.

Collaboration was crucial throughout the construction phase. The project integrated efforts between international engineering firms and local contractors, ensuring a blend of global expertise and intimate knowledge of Istanbul’s geographical and urban peculiarities. This metro line was designed not only to serve current needs but also to integrate smoothly with existing and future transportation networks, including bus routes and other metro lines, thereby enhancing the overall utility of Istanbul’s public transport system.

User Experience

The Istanbul Airport Metro redefines commuter experience with its emphasis on comfort, efficiency, and technology. Each of the nine stations is meticulously designed to facilitate easy navigation, featuring clear signage in multiple languages, spacious platforms, and barrier-free access for people with disabilities. The stations are equipped with modern amenities such as high-speed Wi-Fi, interactive kiosks, and retail spaces, making the travel experience more enjoyable and convenient.

The trains themselves are a highlight, boasting high-capacity carriages, climate control, and plush seating to accommodate the needs of both daily commuters and weary travelers. With an emphasis on safety, the entire line is equipped with comprehensive security systems including CCTV, emergency communication devices, and regular patrols. Additionally, the operational technology ensures punctuality and reliability, with real-time updates available through mobile apps, helping passengers plan their journeys effectively.

Comparison with Other Airport Transit Options

To illustrate the benefits of the Istanbul Airport Metro compared to other transportation options available at Istanbul Airport, the following table provides a concise comparison based on cost, convenience, and time efficiency:

Transport OptionCost (approximate)ConvenienceTravel Time to City CenterNotes
Metro (M11)LowHigh35 minutesOperates at frequent intervals, direct route with no traffic delays.
BusModerateMedium60-90 minutesCheaper than taxis but can be affected by traffic, multiple stops.
TaxiHighHigh40-70 minutesDoor-to-door service but cost varies with traffic conditions.
Private CarHighHigh40-70 minutesMost comfortable, costliest, subject to traffic delays.

This comparison highlights that the Istanbul Airport Metro not only offers a competitive price but also the best balance of speed and convenience, making it an ideal choice for most travelers looking to reach the city center efficiently and economically.

Future Prospects

The Istanbul Airport Metro, already a critical component of the city’s transportation infrastructure, is set to expand its influence and capacity. Plans are underway to extend the M11 line further, connecting it with other key nodes across Istanbul, which will integrate it more deeply with the existing urban transit network. These expansions are aimed at accommodating the expected increase in airport traffic and urban growth, ensuring the metro system evolves in tandem with the city’s needs.

In addition to physical expansions, there are also plans to introduce technological enhancements that could include more advanced signaling and train control systems, aiming to further increase efficiency and reduce wait times. The city’s commitment to upgrading and expanding the metro service underscores the role it will play in shaping Istanbul’s future as a more connected and sustainable metropolis.

– Metro Line Details and Stations

The M11, M2 and M3 Lines

The Istanbul Airport Metro currently operates 3 lines – the M1,1 M2 and M3. The M1 line connects the airport to the city center, stopping at key destinations along the way such as the Istanbul Expo Center. The M2 line provides a connection to the metrobus and tram systems. The M3 line connects the airport to the Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Transferring Between Lines

Passengers can easily transfer between metro lines at the Istanbul Airport Metro hub. Well-marked signs direct travelers to the correct platforms for each line. The metro trains run frequently, so wait times are typically 5 to 10 minutes between trains.

Metro Station Amenities

Each metro station offers amenities for travelers including ticket machines, restrooms, seating areas, and charging stations. The larger stations like Airport Metro and Expo Center also have shops, cafes, currency exchange booths, luggage storage, and more. All metro stations are handicap accessible with elevators and ramps.

Metro Operating Hours

The Istanbul Airport Metro system operates from 6 am to midnight each day. During peak hours, trains run every 3 to 5 minutes. Late evening and weekend schedules are a bit more sparse, about every 10 to 15 minutes. It’s best to check the most up-to-date schedules on the metro’s official website before traveling in case of any schedule changes or disruptions to service.

The new Istanbul Airport Metro provides an efficient, affordable and eco-friendly way for travelers to explore the city. With 3 lines covering many of Istanbul’s most popular areas, navigating this enchanting city has never been easier. The metro is truly a transportation triumph for Istanbul and all who visit.

Riding the Istanbul Airport Metro: Tickets, Frequency, Accessibility


The Istanbul Airport metro system requires riders to purchase tickets or tap their Istanbulkart, the city’s rechargeable transit card, to pass through the turnstiles. Single-ride tickets can be purchased at the station for 5 TL. For most visitors, the Istanbulkart is the most convenient option. The card can be purchased and recharged at station kiosks. Fares are deducted as you tap to enter and exit, with transfers valid for up to two hours.

Number of StationsFull FareDiscounted FareDiscounted Fare 2Transfer LimitLimited Use Ticket
1 - 3 StationsTRY 17.70 TRY 8.64 TRY 12.67 1 Transfer 2 Transfer
4 - 6 StationsTRY 20.19 TRY 9.92 TRY 14.51 1 Transfer 2 Transfer
7 - 8 StationsTRY 22.83 TRY 11.15 TRY 16.28 2 Transfer 2 Transfer
9 - 10 StationsTRY 25,62 TRY 12,38 TRY 18,05 2 Transfer 2 Transfer

Frequency and Route

The metro line operates from 6 am until midnight, running every 10 to 15 minutes during peak hours and 20 to 30 minutes off-peak.


The Istanbul Airport metro system aims to provide accessibility for all riders. Station platforms feature Braille signage and tactile paving along the edges for the visually impaired. Elevators and escalators provide easy access for those with limited mobility or carrying luggage. Wheelchair-accessible train cars and restrooms can accommodate riders with disabilities. For hearing-impaired riders, visual display boards announce the next station arrival times. The metro aims to serve all visitors and help everyone explore the vibrant city of Istanbul.

The new metro line provides an affordable, convenient mode of transport for getting into Istanbul from the airport terminals. With frequent service, accessibility features, and connections to Istanbul’s extensive transit network, the metro is a great way for any traveler to start their visit to this historic city.

Connecting to Istanbul’s Public Transport System

Once you have landed at the Istanbul Airport and have cleared immigration, the next step is to make your way into central Istanbul. The new Istanbul Airport is well-connected to Istanbul’s public transport system, with options including metro, bus and taxi services.


The metro is the fastest way to reach central Istanbul from the airport. The Istanbul Airport Metro connects the airport to Levent and Yenikapı stations, with connections to other metro lines. The metro runs from 6 am to midnight, leaving every 15-20 minutes. The metro ride takes around 35-40 minutes to reach the city center and fares start from 5 TL.


Airport shuttle busses and Havabus services offer bus connections between Istanbul Airport and central Istanbul. The Havabus departs from the airport every 30 minutes between 4 am to 1 am, stopping at Taksim and Yenikapı. The bus fare is 10 TL and travel time is around 50-60 minutes depending on traffic. Shuttle busses also run to major hotels and destinations in the city, with fares starting from 10 TL.


Taxis are readily available for hire outside the airport terminals. The fare from Istanbul Airport to central Istanbul is around 150-200 TL and the travel time can vary greatly depending on traffic, usually 50-90 minutes. Only use official taxis from Istanbul Airport to avoid being overcharged. When taking a Istanbul Airport taxi, make sure the meter is running and displaying the correct fare.

With its state-of-the-art infrastructure and multiple transport options, the new Istanbul Airport provides convenient onward connectivity for travelers to easily reach central Istanbul and beyond. The metro is generally the fastest option, while taxis offer door-to-door service for your final destination in the city.


The Istanbul Airport Metro is not just a transport link but a critical infrastructure project that enhances the connectivity and accessibility of one of the world’s most vibrant cities. It stands as a testament to Istanbul’s forward-thinking approach to urban planning and mobility. By providing a reliable, efficient, and sustainable transportation option, the metro significantly contributes to the city’s ongoing efforts to accommodate its growing population and expanding tourist industry.

As Istanbul continues to develop, the role of the Istanbul Airport Metro will undoubtedly grow, influencing the city’s landscape and the daily lives of its residents and visitors alike. This infrastructure is a keystone in Istanbul’s vision for a connected and sustainable future, making the city even more welcoming and accessible to the world.

The new metro line connecting Istanbul Airport to the city center provides an affordable, convenient transport option for all travelers. Following the signs in the airport and purchasing the correct metro fare will get you into the city in no time. Have a great trip!

Istanbul Airport Metro FAQ

The route travels from Gayrettepe to Kağıthane, Üniversite-Hasdal​​, Kemerburgaz, Göktürk, İhsaniye, İstanbul Havalimanı (the airport), Kargo Terminali, Taşoluk and finally Arnavutköy.

The station and service into the city was launched on January 22, 2023.

No, the opening hours of the Metro are from 6am through to midnight each day.

During peak travel times you can typically get a train every 10 to 15 minutes but at quieter non-peak periods then it can take between 20 and 30 minutes before a train arrives.

The exact duration of your subway ride will depend on the station where you get off the train, but to get to downtown you should plan on the trip taking about 35 to 40 minutes in total.

A single ride ticket should cost you 5.50 Turkish lira (or about $0.90) and this will be valid for two hours from the time that you purchase it.

Once your flight has arrived at the airport and you have gone through security and collected your bags, just look for signs within the airport pointing the way to the Metro station. If you are having difficulty locating the station, just ask an airport staff member to assist you.

There are ticket machines available at the airport Metro station where you can purchase a single ride and you will need to use this ticket to get through the turnstile to get on the train.

Yes, there is wheelchair access throughout the Metro system including elevators and train carriages that can accommodate those who might have mobility issues.

Yes, there is space for luggage on the subway carriages but just be aware that space for suitcases and other items may be limited when you are traveling at very busy times.

The Istanbul Airport metro is designed to accommodate airport travelers with luggage. The metro carriages and platforms have extra space for large bags and suitcases. However, very large luggage may not fit through the ticket gates, in which case you should use the designated oversized baggage gates at the metro station. It is recommended that you keep your luggage close by and not leave any bags unattended while riding the metro.

A. There are lost and found stations located at the Metro station stops, including the airport station, where you can report your missing item and see if someone has handed it in.