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Istanbul Airport - Q’s and A’s


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Regarded by many as one of the world’s premier tourist destinations, Istanbul is a magical city full of wonder and enchantment. It is commonly mistaken as the capital of Turkey, but this title goes to Ankara. However, Istanbul is certainly the capital for Turkey’s culture and tourism. There are more than 13 million people living within the greater Istanbul area.

The city, which was also known as Constantinople, is found in a unique location, as it is the only global city in the world that sits across two designated continents – Asia and Europe. The eastern side, otherwise known as the Asian side, is home to a relatively new airport. However, the western side, or European side, is home to the older but larger airport.

The older airport is still the most important airport in the city and country of Turkey. First time travellers should have a detailed understanding of the facility before arriving. Therefore, the following questions and answers should assist travellers for when they arrive at the airport.

Where is the airport situated?
Situated in the European half of the city, Istanbul Airport is found within the small district of Yesilkoy, some 25kms to the west of the central business district of Istanbul. It is just one kilometre from Istanbul’s coastline, and sits upon the busy D100 highway. Patrons can follow this road all the way to the centre of the city, or two the large overpass road the bypasses the busy centre of Istanbul, known as 0-1.

When was it built?
Built in 1924, the airport has been the most significant gateway into the country of Turkey for many decades. It was originally the only airport serving international flights in the city, but was overcapacity for some time, and therefore now receives help from the Sabiha Gokcen Airport in the far eastern region of the city.

How large is the airport?
Istanbul Airport is certainly the largest airport in Turkey, welcoming more than 32 million passengers over the calendar year. This number is not an average though, and the statistics continue to rise each year, which is quite a major concern for management of the airport in the near future. Of the 32 million people arriving and departing the airport every year, more than 20 million are international travellers.

How many terminals?
The airport boasts four terminals altogether; three of which are passenger terminals while the other is a cargo terminal. By far the largest terminal in the airport, Terminal 2 is the newest building on the site also. It was built in 2000, and currently handles all the international passenger flights that enter the airport. Terminal 1 is set aside for domestic arrivals and departures, and the third terminal is a general aviation facility.

How do tourists get there and get away?
The easiest way to get from the airport is by car rental, which is available in all the passenger terminals. However, there are more options available for passengers who don’t feel like driving. There is a light rail system connecting the airport to the city, and buses are also popular. Several Istanbul Airport hotels are found on site or close by, so visitors can choose to stay there and not have to go anywhere!

What are the major airlines?
Some of the major airlines using the airport as a hub include Turkish Airlines, North Cyprus Airlines and the domestic carrier AtlasJet. There are dozens of other international carriers that offer connections to the city though.

Who operates the airport?
The airport is managed by the large TAV Airport Management Group. They have been operating at the airport since the year 2000, and have made numerous upgrades and redevelopments since arriving.

What about the future of the airport?
The major concern for the airport in the future is the ability to handle the increasing passenger numbers that enter the airport. However, there is a third international airport in Istanbul beginning construction, with its aim is to reduce the passengers at Istanbul Airport in the future.

Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Istanbul Airport Hotels content.


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