The New Istanbul Airport [IST] is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the Arnavutköy district, north of the modern city of Istanbul. It is about 40 km away from Taksim and 52 km from both Sultanahmet (historical center in the European side of Istanbul) and Kadıköy (city center in the asian side of town).
It was officially opened on 29th October 2018 as the third international airport constructed in Istanbul, but is now considered being the main one. In fact, Istanbul Airport ranked second in the "World's Best Airports" by the famous traveling and lifestyle magazine Condé Nast Traveler.
It replaced the previous Atatürk Airport that was also located in the European side of Istanbul, but that is closed now. Today, most of the important flight connections, layovers, departures and arrivals are made through this airport. If you plan on coming to Istanbul, you might land in this amazing airport. Let us guide you through it.
In this complete guide, we will give you all the important information you need to know to land and/or transite from this very modern and large airport.
Istanbul Airport Transfers [IST]
You have the chance to get several options of transfers in the international airport of Istanbul. Due to practical reasons, we always recommend to book a transfer in advance. Indeed, you might not find a ride right away when you land to Istanbul because of crowds and lack of capacity or you might paid much more than an online reservation.
Transfer options from / to Istanbul Airport [IST]
Here are the options available to you for a safe and easy transfer from Istanbul Airport to your hotel in town. Book through our links and get a -5% discount:
1. Airport Shuttle Bus Online Ticket
The Havaist company provides comfortable buses with Wi-Fi connection and departs every 45 minutes from Istanbul Airport to almost everywhere in the city. At your arrival, you just have to follow indications or ask a member of the staff and you will find the bus stop easily. The fee is in Turkish lira and depends on your final destination. It can be paid by cash or credit card. For more information about prices and timetables, visit Havaist's official service provider's website.
2. Istanbul Airport Shared Shuttle
This is a budget friendly way to get to your accomodation in central areas such Taksim or Sultanahmet. Benefit from unlimited luggage opportunity with this comfortable minibus. All you have to do is to book your reservation and get to the transfer desk at the arrival hall of Istanbul Airport.
3. Private Transfer Istanbul Airport (Recommended)
Enjoy the journey from airport to your hotel with a special driver and late model van for the best price in Istanbul. Please note that this is valid for the hotels on the European side and available up to 8 person.
Please do not hesistate to contact us for bus rentals and group organisations to get the best offers.
AIRPORT SHUTTLE BUS [IST]
Book a Bus Shuttle provided by the official Havalines company. Departure for Istanbul Airport [IST].
SHARED TRANSFER [IST]
Book a Shared Shuttle in a luxurious minivan from Istanbul Airport [IST]. Affordable and comfortable.
PRIVATE TRANSFER [IST]
Book a Private VIP Transfer and enjoy a very comfortable ride from Istanbul Airport [IST].
Public Transport to the New Istanbul Airport (IST)
The New Istanbul Airport (IST) is connected to the city by the new metro line M11 Gayrettepe - Istanbul Airport, which began operations on January 22, 2023. The metro currently has 7 stops, but it is not yet fully completed, as the terminus stop at Gayrettepe station has not been opened yet.
Arriving travelers must follow this route :
- Take the M11 metro line from the airport to Kagithane station
- Transfer to the M7 metro line to Medciyeköy station.
- Take the M2 to reach Taksim, or Vezneciler
- Take the tram to go to Sultanahmet
This route is considered inconvenient and impractical so far, so it is best to opt for a shuttle or a private airport transfer.
We do not think that taking the metro is a good option to get from the new Istanbul airport to the city center or vice versa, especially if you are traveling with children, several people or a lot of luggage.
As mentioned above, this metro line is not yet recommended for tourists, so we advise taking the shuttle bus or a private transfer.
How long does it take to travel by metro from Sultanahmet to New Istanbul Airport?
- Take the T1 Tram to Laleli-Üniversite and then walk for 5 minutes to Vezneciler stop
- Take the M2 metro line to Şişli - Mecidiyeköy station (40 minutes)
- Change to the M7 metro line and go to Kağıthane station (6 minutes walk)
- Change to the M11 metro line and go to New Istanbul Airport (27 minutes drive)
- Walk 8 minutes on the moving sidewalk to arrive to the airport itself
- Allow 20–30 minutes for security checks and additional 20 minutes for finding your gate
So, without security check and the search of your gate, the duration of the trip alone is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Taking into account additional time for security checks, finding your gate and potential wait times for connections, it is best to plan for a trip of at least 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Arrivals & Departures at IST
To learn about the status of arrivals and departures to/from the Istanbul Airport [IST], the easiest way is still to check latest information on the official website. You will find a list of flights expected to land or depart, the exact time of arrival or departure, flight numbers, and the current status and/or delays.
- For Arrivals to Istanbul Airport:
The current arrival times as well as arrival terminals can be found here: https://www.istairport.com/en/passenger/flight/arrival You will find domestic and international Arrival sections inside. (Only ticketed passengers are allowed inside currently).
- For Departures to Istanbul Airport:
The current departure times as well as departure terminals can be found here: https://www.istairport.com/en/passenger/flight/departure There are seven entrance gates for the Departures section. Here, you’ll pass from a security check and find kiosks for the check-in procedures.
Guide yourself with a detailed map of the Istanbul Airport [IST]. It will allow you to see how the airport is planed and how to move around.
Flights to and from Istanbul Airport
It is recommended to be in the airport 3 hours before the international flights and 1.5 hours before the domestic flights, considering the new mandatory safety checks.
You will be waiting for several checks in the lines including the first entrance check in line and passanger lounge entrance. The final line would be for the ticket and passport control. All this process takes time and the distance from one place to other is not close since Istanbul Airport [IST] covers an enormous area. The traffic in Istanbul can be challenging at times as well. That is why it is very crucial to get to the airport early.
When arranging a transfer service from the city center, it is recommended to add some 30 minutes for not to miss your flight because of the dense traffic.
Flight Connections and layovers
A transit flight is changing planes to reach the final destination. Sometimes the time between two flights can be too long exceeding 1 hours. In that case, some visitors might look for a nearby hotel to get rest or see the city for a short period of time. We will give some ideas about what can you do to pass the time at Istanbul Airport.
Did you know that there is a library containing more than 2,000 books and magazines at IST Airport? You can find this library at the Domestic Departures floor. It can be visited between 06.30 am to 11:20 pm.
Another activity in Istanbul Airport is to shop from Duty-Free area which is among the largest in the world. Apart from the Duty-Free, you can also find a number of brand storesfrom clothes, electronics, accessories, toys and other for shopping.
One should be carefull about the flight type when it comes to transit flights. It could be a connecting flight from the same airline company. In this case, the luggages are moved to the other plane automatically. But if it is none connecting flight, the passangers should deliver their luggage and hand them again for the upcoming flight.
Again, if the flight type is non-connecting, make sure to get a Transit Visa if needed. These obligations and terms can be different according to nationality and other and best thing is to ask for the procedure to the airline company.
If you already have your boarding pass for your connecting flight, follow your flight via FIDS monitors and proceed to your gate. If you don’t have your boaarding pass, proceed to the transfer desk or the desk of the airline company to get your boarding pass.
Plan your trip to Istanbul with experts
Let us help you design your trip to Istanbul according to your unique situation and desires. With our experience of 25 years and our network, we will get you the best prices for hotels and activities.
Uber, Taxi & Car rental at Istanbul Airport
Taxi: Taxi is always an intimate, easy and quick option that you can find just outside the terminal of Istanbul Airport. The only thing you should be aware is that make sure the taximeter is working so that there won’t be any problem about the price.
Uber is another option for a fast solution but in fact it might be a regular taxi cab sent for you when you call for an Uber from the website.
You can find many car rental companies at Istanbul Airport on the land side of domestic arrivals floor. These companies are at your service all times a day including AVIS, SIXT, Hertz, Enterprise and many other...
Airport Lounges at Istanbul Airport
Find below the 5 amazing lounges available in the Istanbul Airport for the public. For all lounges, economy passengers can purchase access authorization directly at the entrance of the lounge for an additional charge. Check the current entrance price in each lounge website.
1. IGA Lounge
IGA Lounge is operated by Istanbul Airport and it is open 24/7. Passengers flying on Star Alliance Airlines and Priority Pass members with a same-day boarding pass for admission may experience the privilege of it’s services. You can find the IGA Lounge on the left after passport control on the international terminal.
IGA Lounge offers amazing luxurious bedroom suites for travelers which have attached bathrooms. You can catch up on your sleep in comfort and you may freshen up by taking showers before your flight in there.
If traveling make you hungry, don’t worry if you inn IGA Lounge. Menu with authentic Turkish cousine and specialties from other cuisines from around the World waiting for your choice. Also, coffee stations which are placed throughout the lounge helps to fill your coffee need and one staffed bar may offer to you enjoy your relaxing time with alcoholic drinks.
You can also spend your time by using free high-speed wi-fi services or shopping in the duty-free shop which is housed in this lounge. For prices, consult the official website www.igapass.com.
2. Turkish Airlines Lounges
You can reach the Turkish Airlines Lounge Business by taking the escalator opposite E1 boarding gate on the international departures floor. Turkish Airlines or Star Alliance airlines Business Class passengers flying on an International flight can benefit from this lounge which has an area of 5600m2, seats for 765 passengers and 130m2 museum area.
Entertainment and comfort provided to you before your flights in Turkish Airlines Business Lounge. You may rest in private suites, you may refresh yourself by takin shower, you may relax in the lounge area, you may taste delicious treats from Turkish and international cuisine or you may entertain yourself with console gaming experience. Of course there is a large children’s play area for little passengers and families. Check the Official Turkish Airline Website for Lounges here.
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Lounge
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Lounge welcomes you when you take the elevator opposite C1 boarding gate on the International departures floor. If you need to feel refreshed and relaxed, there are 12 suites with 12 showers helps you very well. If you feel hungry, you can enjoy the delicious treats of Turkish & World cuisines. If you want to fill your flight waiting time with entertaintment, this lounge offers a cinema, console gaming area and spacious playground for children. There are also meeting rooms and a Library for who wants to use their time carefully while waiting their flights.
Turkish Airlines/ Star Alliance member airlines’ economy Class passenger with Miles&Smiles Elite,Elite Plus or Star Alliance Gold membership and all passengers flying in the Business Class can benefit from Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Lounge.
Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge
Before your domestic flights, you can get comfortable in this privileged lounge with special designed spaces and delicious treats. If you want some fun, don’t worry. There are a lots of selected console games waiting for you. And of course, lots of entertainment guaranteed to little guests at special designed children playground in there. Meeting rooms always at your service if you spend your time for working instead of fun.
From the domestic terminal, you can take the elevator across gates G6 and G7 to reach Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge. When your flight departure approaches, you can board the apron bus which take you to your flight directly fromTurkish Airlines Domestic Lounge.
All passengers with Miles&Smiles Elite,Elite Plus or Star Alliance Gold membership and all passengers flying in the Business Class can benefit from Turkish Airlines Domestic Lounge.
SkyTeam Lounge has an elevated position on west wing Level H of International Departures floor. You can easily get comfortable with unique decor which is a perfect combination of SkyTeam’s design language and local touches. By 582 m2 space with more than 145 seats, you will never feel crowded and you can freshened up with shower suites in the Lounge.
You can select anything you want from the rich buffet with delicious Turkish and international treats. Don’t forget to try Turkish cuisiene’s specials freshly cooked pide (Turkish pizza) prepared on-demand at the live cooking station, mezze, traditional tea or coffee at the SkyTeam Lounge while waiting your flight.
Duty Free at Istanbul Airport
Istanbul Airport has one of the largest and charming Duty Free areas in the world. You may find a big selection of products from cosmetics, perfumes, food and beverages, tobacco, toys, watches, jewelry, souveneirs, toys and handmade crafts there.
You can find a wide variety of brands and products in the store, where you can take advantage of advantageous prices as tax is not charged on your shopping.
It is possible to ask for a pre-order online here.
Restaurants and food options
There are various eataries from Turkish and international cuisine with restaurants, fast food chains and cafes serving for the passengers at Istanbul Airport.
These includes many internatiol franchisings like Starbucks, Subway,Gloria Jean's Coffees, Deli Aux Pain, Carl’s Jr. and Burger King as well as some local restaurants such as Cay Saati, HD Döner, HD Iskender, Pidem and Simit Sarayı.
PCR Test at Istanbul Airport
There is a PCR Test center established on an area of 5,000 m2 due to COVID-19 at the Istanbul Airport. You can find the PCR test center on the Arrivals floor exit gate number 14.
Here, the passengers can have their PCR, Antibody and Antigen tests done. The samples taken from the passengers are examined in the laboratories and then informed them via mobile phone as soon as possible. You can get the PCR test result in one and a half hour, the antibody test result in 45 minutes, and the antigen result in 20 minutes. It is possible to print your results from the information desk.
As an IGA Pass member, you can benefit from making a reservation to get a quick test without waiting in line. All you have to do is to contact via "firstname.lastname@example.org" address before you get there. Create your reservation and show up on time. The results will be on your mobile upon your request in a short time.
Airport Hotels at Istanbul Airport
The best feature of YOTEL is that it is literally located inside the airport. No need to overwhelm and rush to catch the plane. Yotel Istanbul, which has 400 rooms in total, is the most practical way to stay without wasting time for the people who wants to be close to the airport. You can relax and prepare yourself for the journey in the comfortable rooms furnished in a modern style.
Internet at Istanbul Airport
Each passenger can benefit from the wireless internet kiosks provided free for an hour at Istanbul Airport. All you have to do is to send SMS or your passport number to get an acess to internet.
There are 33 internet kiosks in total spread in various areas such as tranfer floor, departure floor, kiosks at Bosphorus zone, international terminal, arrival meeting hall and in front of C – E gates.
Get a code from kiosk by Passport Number: Verify your passport number on the kiosk to get a code. Now you can connect to the “Istanbul Airport TurkTelekomFree” on your mobile with your code.
Connect with Your Mobile Phone: Find the “Istanbul Airport TurkTelekomFree”. Then, choose your country code to get a password.
What if you need to use the internet more than an hour? There are paid packages TurkTelekom offers you as İstanbul Airport WiFi package available as 2 hours and all day.
If you need more help planning your trip and want to save money at the same time, read our related article: Best City Pass for Istanbul | Compare Prices & Included Activities.
For more amazing pictures and tips about Istanbul, follow our official Instagram account @istanbul.tourist.information
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Istanbul Airport FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Istanbul Airport can handle 90 million passengers in a year. It is expected that by 2028, Istanbul Airport will be able to handle 200 million passengers annualy.
Istanbul Airport is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the Arnavutköy district. It is about 40 km away from Taksim and 52km from both Sultanahmet and Kadıköy.
Yes, There is a large PCR Test center at Istanbul Airport, on the Arrivals floor exit gate number 14. You can get and print your test results in a short time there. (PCR test result in one and a half hour, the antibody test result in 45 minutes, and the antigen result in 20 minutes).
You can take public buses that goes to various central areas of Istanbul or use shuttles called as HAVAIST. Unfortunately, there is no direct Metro connection to the Istanbul Airport currently.