Istanbul Airport Terminals

Istanbul Airport operates one terminal

Istanbul Airport Terminal
Istanbul Airport Terminal

It took months of delays but now the new Istanbul Airport is open for service. The previous airport was small and it was hard to get from gate to gate. The new airport is a single terminal building and is the largest in the world. Five piers extend from various parts of the business. Four of the piers are for international travelers and one is for domestic travelers.

Looking at the airport from above you would see an H shape. From above the design of the building isn’t much but the interior is a work of art. Wavy ceilings and space between gates makes the airport feel comfortable and provides space between other travelers. Many of the stores at the airport are high end, and you might find yourself forgetting that you are at an airport in the first place.

While the airport is open to the public there are some areas that aren’t open yet. The government wanted to get the building open so there were not any more delays. For the most part, the remaining work takes the form of shops and eateries that are still being worked on. Some might find it frustrating that the airport is not fully functional yet, such as reported problems accessing WiFi, but you are likely to find the terminal much better than the predecessor.

About Istanbul Airport Terminals

At the present time, the Istanbul International Airport operates five runways (three primary and two secondary) and one terminal for both domestic and international flights. The lengths of the two 17/35 runways and the 16/34 runway are 3,750 meters (12,300 feet) and 4,100 meters (13,500 feet), respectively.

Location and Contact Information

The new IST Airport is located on the Northwest part of central Istanbul. The district is known as Areavutkoy District. It is by the shore of the Black Sea. You can contact the airport at +90 444 1 442 or visit their website at istairport.com.

The airport is about 53 KM to Avcilar, 42 KM to Bakrikoy, 41 KM to Besiktas, and 85 KM to Sabiha Gokcen Airport. The average distance from the airport to central parts of Istanbul is 45 KM.

Architectural Design

The new Istanbul Airport terminal building was designed by a consortium of Turkish and international architects to reflect Istanbul’s unique position bridging Europe and Asia. The terminal has a wave-like roof meant to evoke a flying carpet. There are two symmetrical floors on either side of the terminal connected by pedestrian bridges. The terminal allows natural lighting and has many open spaces for an airy feel.

Passenger Capacity

The new Istanbul Airport opened in phases, with the first phase able to handle up to 90 million passengers annually. Once fully complete, the airport will be the largest in the world with six runways and capacity for up to 200 million passengers. The terminal building alone will span over 76 million square feet, with 143 gates and 500 check-in counters.

Amenities and Services

The new Istanbul Airport provides passengers a range of amenities for a world-class travel experience. There are over 10,000 square meters of retail space, over 50 food and beverage outlets, lounges, showers, and nap rooms. Passengers will find a great selection of Turkish cuisine, in addition to popular international options. The airport also has an on-site hotel for transit passengers and those with long layovers. Other services include porter services, nurseries, medical centers, and transportation options to the city center.

The new Istanbul Airport is an architectural and infrastructural marvel that provides passengers with a memorable travel experience representative of Istanbul’s prestige on the global stage. With its strategic location, state-of-the-art facilities, and amenities, the new airport is poised to become the premier hub between East and West.

Key Features and Amenities of the Istanbul Airport Terminal

Spacious, Modern Design

The new Istanbul Airport terminal building spans over 6 million square feet, making it one of the largest airport terminals in the world. The terminal features a spacious, modern design with high ceilings, open spaces and an abundance of natural light. The check-in halls and passport control areas are particularly expansive, helping to minimize congestion and wait times. The terminal’s modern architecture and interior design create an enjoyable experience for passengers.

Variety of Shopping and Dining Options

No matter your tastes or budget, the Istanbul Airport terminal has you covered with a huge array of shopping and dining options. Passengers can browse duty free shops selling clothing, electronics, souvenirs and Turkish delicacies. There are also many cafes, fast food outlets and full-service restaurants representing Turkish, Mediterranean and international cuisine. Premium dining options with table service are also available for those seeking a more relaxed meal. With all these choices, finding something appealing to eat or buy during your time at the airport should not be an issue.

Concourses

The five piers of the terminal make up the different concourses at Istanbul Airport. Concourses are lettered from A to G, skipping E. All the concourses except for G are for international travel. Concourse G is located on the Southeast side of the airport.

Security

One of the things that everyone wonders about a new airport is what the security setup is like. The large terminal was only designed with one security checkpoint for local passengers and one for those who are just transiting through the terminal. This can cause delays and causes transiting passengers to have to check with security then head to their gate, even if it is closer to where they land.

Gate Transit

Transiting to and between gates is not as easy as some other new airports. You currently have to either walk or use moving walkways. There is no transit system currently set up at the airport. Those who need assistance, such as those with mobility issues, will need to organize having a wheelchair at the airport.
You might catch staff using Segways to get to where they are going.

It can take quite a while to get through security and from gate to gate. It is recommend that you plan to have at least 2.5 hours to get through security and to your gate, especially during busy times. For those who want to spend time at a restaurant or lounge, you might want to add another hour to that time.

Gates

The gates at IST are very large. They have plenty of space for travelers to sit at. You will find that the areas are clearly marked and have ropes delineating different sections. The gates all feature large windows so that you can look out onto the tarmac.

Additional seating can be found spread randomly throughout the airport. So randomly that you might find yourself wondering why seats are placed where they are.

Services

You will find plenty of services available at the airport. Besides the standard lounges and and food/drink/retail stores. You can also get luggage storage, find nursing rooms, access showers, find meeting points, and shop at duty free stores. There is also a car rental facility at the home.

You can find out more about the lounges below.

Air Providers

The primary air provider at IST is Turkish Airlines. They operate a lot of the flights but by doing so, they are able to offer a wide range of options and transfers. There are over 50 other airlines that operate out of IST. Some of the main ones include Air Canada, United Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, and JAL/Japan Airlines, just to name a few.

Lounges at IST

There are currently five lounges open at Istanbul Airport, all of them are open 24 hours a day. Here are the lounges:

  • Turkish Airlines Lounge Domestic

This is the domestic lounge and it features snack, WiFi, TV, a children’s area, and snacks.

  • Turkish Airlines Lounge Miles and Smiles

At this international lounge you will find snacks, showers, WiFi, alcoholic beavers, and more.

  • Turkish Airlines Business Lounge

At the business lounge in the international pier you will find snacks, showers, WiFi, premium food, and television.
IGA Lounge

The IGA Lounge offers food, snacks, drinks, showers, television, a play area, and other amenities.

  • SkyTeam Lounge

Premium food, snacks, drinks, WiFi and other amenities can be found at the SkyTeam Lounge.

COVID Testing

You can get a PCR COVID test performed at the New Istanbul Airport. The test is administered at Biotest which is located on the Arrivals floor at exit gate number 14. Make sure that the PCR test meets the requirements for your travel.

Hotels

Istanbul’s New Airport features two hotels, one on each side of the airport. The hotel runs about 110 euros. The location is great and offers travelers the option to stay at the airport without having to get a visa to stay at a local hotel. The hotels are both YotelAir hotels. The rooms are a decent size for a hotel and are very bright despite being inside an airport.

In addition to the hotel, you will find sleep pods spread throughout the airport. These sleep pods are available on an hourly basis. These are a great option for those looking to take a nap or those who don’t want to rent a whole hotel room.

There are not many options for hotels around the New Istanbul Airport. The options at the airport are the best, despite being slightly more expensive than some travelers might be used to.

Parking

To help support travel, the airport offers a parking garage with capacity for 40,000 vehicles. It is a high tech garage that also features a car wash, tire change, mini maintenance area, and fueling.

Plans for the Future

Despite the airport already being considered one of the finest in Europe and the largest in the world, there is still more work planned for the future. Future plans include more runways and more terminals. By 2027 the airport hopes to make the capacity they are capable of serving between 150 and 200 million passengers.

The construction is being carried out in a total of four phases. The next phase is phase three and includes the addition of another terminal building and a new runway. In the last phase there will be another runway and the possibility for additional satellite terminals.

By the end of the construction you could find the New Istanbul Airport sporting six runways and three or more terminal buildings. What is already in place is great for those who are looking to travel through the airport, the plans for the future will improve the airport even more. The one thing that we would like to see the airport adopt is a transit option to help people get to and from gates.

Conclusion

As you depart Istanbul Airport, reflect on your experience navigating this architectural marvel. The innovative design elements challenge travelers to rethink what an airport can be. While efficiency and functionality drive the layout, artful touches like cascading skylights and indoor gardens enrich the journey. Istanbul Airport represents the future with its massive scale, seamless flow, and rich culture woven throughout. The terminal’s thoughtful integration of nature, culture, and technology provides a travel experience like no other. As your flight taxis down the runway, know you carry memories from Istanbul Airport that will endure until your next visit.

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Istanbul Airport Terminal FAQ

The airport provides complimentary Wi-Fi for all passengers but this is limited to two hours at a time, or you can use Wi-Fi that is provided by some of the dining options in the terminal.

You will discover a broad range of selections to get something to eat before or after your flight, including places serving Turkish specialties as well as fast food chains and more.

Istanbul Airport is designed to handle parking for a total of 40,000 cars, so you should be able to find somewhere for your vehicle whether you choose a covered or uncovered space.

Once you have arrived at the airport – either from your flight to Turkey or when you are preparing to fly home – just ask a member of the airport staff to provide you with assistance, as several options are available including the use of a wheelchair to get through the terminal.

In addition to a currency exchange bureau there are also ATMs throughout the terminal.

If you have any kind of medical problem at the airport just look for signs directing you to the first aid center, which has trained professionals as well as a pharmacy. If you are struggling to find these signs then just ask an airport representative to give you directions.

Yes, Istanbul Airport currently has five individual lounges where you might be able to pay for same-day access to enjoy free food and drink, comfier furniture and other amenities.

Yes, there are vendors that sell these and other options to use during your vacation.

The airport terminal is located about 30 miles (or roughly 50 kilometers) from the city.

You have a few options to choose from that all have differing times and costs, including renting a car, taking a bus, riding on the Metro subway system, or paying for a taxi.