A Guide to Layover in Istanbul Airport

Ask any frequent traveler, and they will tell you how easy it is to travel to Istanbul by air. Turkey’s biggest and busiest city consists of three major airports – Ataturk Airport (the oldest airport that is located on the Eastern side of the grand city), Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (the second oldest airport which is located in Kurtkoy on the Asian side of Istanbul), and the third airport, which also happens to be the focus of our discussion,  the new Istanbul Airport.

The city’s new airport has garnered a lot of attention due to its mega construction and striking tulip-shaped control tower. The city’s former main airport Ataturk International Airport will cease its operation with the opening of the new Istanbul Airport. Turkish Airlines has revealed that this new airport is going to be the chief airport from now onwards as it lends the status of being the new aviation center – a status formerly enjoyed by Ataturk International Airport.

If you are curious to find out more about Layover in Istanbul Airport including layover tours from the new airport, continue reading this blog post.

Layover in Istanbul Airport

The city’s newest airport is simply named “Istanbul Airport” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The new Istanbul airport is all set to become one of the largest airports in the world as it offers a huge passenger capacity of 200 million passengers per year.

Its successful operation will make Istanbul the largest airline hub in the entire world. The question that arises is where is this new Istanbul airport located? Let’s deal with this part in our section below:

Where Is Istanbul Airport Located?

The airport which is currently the second largest in the world after Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai is situated in the northwest of the city, in Arnavutkoy district –  one of the least populated urban area. The airport is easy to reach as it is located at a short distance from the national road D020, though is not easy as Ataturk Airport.

To further understand its geography, you must know that the airport is located 35 kilometers north of Taksim Square by the shores of the Black Sea. A trip to/from Taksim Square only takes 60 minutes while a trip to/from Sultanahmet can take up to 50 minutes. Hence, you can easily plan layover tour from the new airport if your layover duration is over  7 hours.

While Ataturk International Airport happens to be the closest to the city and all the major tourist locations like museums, mosques, bazaars, getting to the center of the city from Istanbul New Airport won’t be difficult for passengers in future, when subway construction has been completed. Istanbul Airport is at a distance of only 54 kilometers from the center of Istanbul which means that it will take only an hour to get there by car.

Besides a private car, it will be  easy to travel to and from Istanbul New Airport by public transport as well. A New Airport Transit Bus, operated by HAVAIST and IETT will run to and from the airport.  It has been estimated that almost 150 buses will run daily from Istanbul New Airport to the European and Asian part of Istanbul and vice versa. By booking the services of Istanbul Layover Tours, you can easily travel to the city center – the hub of the most well known tourist spots – and amplify your adventure during a layover in Istanbul Airport.

Main Features of Istanbul Airport

This airport inaugurated its first phase on Oct. 29, 2018, that spanned around 823 million square feet in total size. Currently, this airport has only two terminals but eventually it will have four terminals, 233 aircraft parking spots, 500+ check-in desks by the end of 2028. By then, this airport will be the largest airport in Europe with 6 runways, numerous facilities to offer, and a capacity to accommodate millions of passengers. Inside the airport terminals, you will come across a hotel with a total of 451 rooms for overnight stay and hourly accommodation.

In addition, you will be pleased to find various restaurants, cafes and bars to make the most of during your layover in Istanbul airport.  But that’s not it. The airport will also boast a large car parking area, shopping mall, conference halls, pharmacies, grocery stores, photography services, ticket offices, banking offices, ATM’s machines, etc. for travelers all across the world. Note that these are some of the most amazing facilities that are hard to come across in the other two renowned airports of Istanbul.

Currently, the airport is able to serve 90 million passengers, but once its construction is completed it will successfully serve 200 million passengers all over the globe. Passengers who have been to the new airport have shared their observations and experiences which can be summed up by saying that Istanbul Airport is humongous and modern in its size and design respectively.

At the moment, both domestic and international flights depart from the same terminal. Since the airport is not fully finished, very few flights are scheduled every day. Most of the time, the airport is unbelievably empty and silent – characteristics difficult to associate with ever-so bustling airports.

While the airport is becoming the center of attention due to its notable eateries and shops, not all of them have opened yet. In fact, only a few restaurants and shops are operational as of yet including an extraordinary duty free shop. Due to the airport’s vast size, it takes a good 15 to 20 minutes to go from one end to another. The airport offers free Wi-Fi and every seating area consists of charging sockets for European and USB hardware. New Istanbul Airport also boasts a mosque for Muslims to offer their prayers.

This mind-blowing airport was opened on April 4th 2019 for Turkish Airlines and then to other airlines following the transfer.

Turkish Airlines Free Tour Hours May Change

It seems that Turkish Airlines will continue to offer free stopover city tours for transit travelers having long layover in Istanbul Airport. Free Layover Tours with Turkish Airlines will still stay appealing, though there might be some changes in free layover tour packages and tour schedules. Currently, 6 hour layover is sufficient to join in one of the free tours from Ataturk Airport, 7 hour layover or even 8 hour layover will be required for free walking tours due to longer driving distance from New Istanbul Airport.

ISTANBUL LAYOVER TOURS operate full day or half day layover tours from New Istanbul International Airport as well. For checking the feasibility of your possible Istanbul layover tour, make your time during layover in Istanbul  you can contact and Pre-book your layover tours from the new airport to double the fun and cultural experience!