Guide to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul [Flights, Hotels, Transfers, Layover...]

On this page, you will find all the important information about Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) on the Asian side of Istanbul: flights, hotels, layovers, transfers and much more ...

Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) is the second largest commercial airport in Turkey after the new Istanbul Airport and is located approximately 40 kilometers east of the Bosphorus on the Asian side of Istanbul. 

It is about 41 kilometers from Taksim and 45 kilometers from Sultanahmet. It is named after Sabiha Gökçen, the adoptive daughter of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It handled over 35 million passengers the past year.

→ If you seek information about the New Airport of Istanbul, check our article about it here.

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Sabiha Gökçen International Airport Transfers

You can choose between different transfer options at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. 

For practical reasons, we always recommend booking a transfer in advance. After all, when you land in Istanbul, you may not be able to find a ride right away due to crowds and lack of capacity, or you may have to pay a lot more than you would if you booked online.

Here are the options available to you for a safe and easy transfer from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to your hotel in the city:

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Transfer Options from / to Sabiha Gökçen Airport

1. Shuttle Buses

Havabüs shuttle buses run every 30 minutes between the airport and Kadıköy on the Asian side or Taksim on the European side of Istanbul. The bus stop is located in front of the arrivals hall on the opposite side of the street.

The travel time to the ferry terminal in Kadıköy is at least 40 minutes, and to Taksim on the European side at least 70 minutes. There, shuttle buses stop 500 meters from Taksim Square right next to Point Hotel.

There are Havabüs information desks directly in front of Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Tickets are purchased directly on or in front of the bus.

2. Shared Transfer

In a shared transfer, you travel in a van or minibus with people who have a similar arrival time. All travelers are dropped off one by one according to the location of their hotels. It is much cheaper than a private transfer, but may involve a wait of 5 to 45 minutes maximum at the airport.

Book your economical shared transfer from Sabiha Gökçen Airport with a discount of 5 %.

3. Private Transfer

Several companies have limousine airport transfers where the chauffeur picks up the guest directly at the gate.

Book your private transfer from Sabiha Gökçen Airport with a discount through this link.

Please contact us to get the best deals for bus rentals and group organizations.

4. Public Transport

With the extension of the M4 metro line (Kadıköy-Sabiha Gökçen Havalimani), Sabiha Gökcen Airport has been connected to the metro since October 2022. This means that travelers now have the option of taking the metro to / from the airport.

It takes 22 stations and about 50 minutes to get to the final stop of "Kadiköy", the popular Asian district, on the M4 metro. Travelers who want to go to Taksim or Sultanahmet can get off one stop earlier ("Ayrilik Cesmesi" station) and change there to the Marmaray, which will take you to Marmaray Sirkeci Station after 2 stops.

To buy your Istanbul transportation card in advance, get the Istanbul Welcome Cards through this link:

Arrivals and Departures at Sabiha Gökçen Airport

To find out the status of arrivals and departures to/from Sabiha Gökçen Airport [SAW], the easiest way is still to check the latest information on the official website. There you can find a list of flights that will be landing or departing, the exact arrival or departure time, flight numbers and the current status and/or delays.

Arrivals at Sabiha Gökçen Airport

There you will find the domestic and international arrivals sections. (Only ticketed passengers have access at this time).

Departures from Sabiha Gökçen Airport

There are three entrance gates for the departure area. Here you will pass through a security checkpoint and find kiosks for check-in. Orient yourself with a detailed map of Sabiha Gökçen Airport [SAW]. This will show you how the airport is laid out and how to get around.

flights to and from sabiha gokcen

Flights To and From Sabiha Gökçen

Sabiha Gökçen Airport is mainly served by low-cost airlines. Between 2015 and 2020, Turkish Airlines also flew to and from Sabiha Gökçen Airport. However, after the opening of the new Istanbul Airport, Turkish Airlines moved its hub to the new airport and ceded all flights to and from Sabiha Gökçen to its low-cost carrier AnadoluJet.

Layovers and Stopovers 

A transit flight requires you to change planes to reach your final destination. Sometimes the time between two flights can be too long and can be several hours. In this case, some visitors look for an Istanbul airport hotel nearby to rest or visit the city for a short period of time. 

If you have enough time, we recommend you to make a short detour to Istanbul to get an impression of the city.

Here are some useful information about Layovers and stopovers in Sabiha Gökçen Airport in Istanbul:

  • If your transit flight does not depart from Sabiha Gökçen but from Istanbul Airport, you can get there by Havabüs shuttle buses. The İST-8 SABIHA GÖKÇEN - İSTANBUL HAVALİMANI line runs every 40 minutes between Istanbul's two airports, which are 50 kilometers away. The journey takes about 70 to 80 minutes and costs about 40 Turkish Lira.
  • Alternatively, you can hire a cab, which takes about 45-60 minutes and costs just around 200 Turkish Liras.
  • If your onward flight is operated by the same airline, your luggage will be transferred automatically. Otherwise, you will have to collect your luggage and check in again with the other airline.
  • If you already have your boarding pass for your connecting flight, track your flight via the monitors and proceed to your gate in a timely manner. 
  • If you do not yet have your boarding pass for your onward flight, proceed to your airline's check-in counter.
  • Please keep in mind that you may need a transit visa! Check with your airline before starting your journey.
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Uber, Taxi & Car Rental at Sabiha Gökçen Airport


Cab is always a familiar, easy and fast option that you can find right outside the Sabiha Gökçen Airport terminal. The only thing you should keep in mind is to make sure that the taxi meter is working so that there are no problems with the price. 


Uber is another option for a quick solution, but in reality, it could be a regular cab that will be sent to you when you request an Uber on the website.

Rent a Car

Various major car rental agencies are located on the arrivals level of Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Of course, you can also rent a car online in advance and the vehicle will be directly available upon your arrival. Hertz, Sixt, Europcar, Budget and Avis are just a few providers.

Airport Lounge

There are a total of 3 lounges at Sabiha Gökçen Airport, all of which offer a view of the apron field.

The ISG CIP Lounge is located in the departure lounge: hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and light snacks are available, international daily newspapers and internet access are offered.

The Istanbul International Lounge is located in the international departure area on a mezzanine floor and offers its services to Turkish Airlines travelers. The 800 m2 lounge has space for 146 guests and includes a pide salon, a billiards area, a library and a shower, among other facilities.

The Turkish Airlines Lounge is located in the domestic departure area and offers its services to domestic travelers. The 1,290 m2 lounge is divided into Elite and Business sections. Hot and cold drinks and snacks are offered.

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Shopping, Stores and Duty-Free

In the terminal there is a wide range of various stores, in addition to international labels, regional brands are represented at a high level.

Among the various restaurants and cafes are Starbucks, Mado, Burger King, Mc Donalds and Simit Sarayı. After security checks, travelers have access to numerous duty-free stores.

PCR Test at Sabiha Gökçen Airport

A COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory SmartLab has been established at Sabiha Gökçen Airport. You can find the PCR testing center on the arrivals level. The testing center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can find the exact location of the lab here:

Here passengers can have their PCR, antibody and antigen tests performed. The samples taken will be analyzed in the laboratories and then the passengers will be informed by cell phone as soon as possible.

You will receive the result of the PCR test in an hour and a half, the result of the antibody test in 45 minutes and the result of the antigen test in 20 minutes. Your results will be submitted in English and Turkish.

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Airport Hotels

There are numerous hotels of all classes in the vicinity of the airport, which can be easily reached by cab in a few minutes. Read our detailed article about Airport Hotels in Istanbul here. Here is a short selection for you.

1. Kepler Sleeping Cabins

Kepler sleeping cabins are available on the mezzanine level after passport control for international travelers. Please refer to the appropriate website for details:

The closest hotel to the airport is the ISG Airport Hotel.

2. ISG Airport Hotel

Just 3 minutes away is the 4-star ISG Airport Hotel. The four-story property has 128 modern and comfortably designed rooms. Conference rooms and a fitness center, spa and sauna are available to guests. The Blue Sky restaurant with integrated bar serves international cuisine. Those who wish can be picked up from the airport at any time by the hotel's own shuttle.

Wi-Fi at Sabiha Gökçen Airport

WLAN can be used at Sabiha Gökçen Airport via the "WiSpotter" hotspot for a fee. Access is available at one of the 8 kiosks in the airport area.

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.

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How do I get from Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) to Istanbul Airport (IST)?

With the opening of the new Istanbul Airport, most airlines have moved to the new IST Airport. Travelers who need to get from Sabiha Gökçen to Istanbul Airport can get there by Havabüs shuttle buses. The İST-8 SABİHA GÖKÇEN- İSTANBUL HAVALİMANI line runs every 40 minutes between Istanbul's two airports, which are 50 kilometers away. The journey takes about 70 to 80 minutes and costs about 40 Turkish Lira.

Alternatively, you can hire a taxi, which takes about 45-60 minutes and costs just under 200 Turkish liras.

Which airlines fly to Sabiha Gökçen Airport?

The most important airline at Sabiha Gökçen Airport is Pegasus Airlines, which has been using it as a hub since 2005. From German-speaking countries, Sabiha Gökçen is also served by AnadoluJet and Eurowings. In recent years, the number of Arab airlines has increased significantly. Among others, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Kuwait Airlines, Air Arabia, FlyDubai, SunExpress and Jazeera Airlines fly to Sabiha Gökçen.

Can I get a PCR test done at Sabiha Gökçen Airport?

Yes, of course you can have a PCR test done at Sabiha Gökçen Airport. The test center is located in the arrivals hall and is open 24/7. Depending on the test, you will receive the results in Turkish and in English within 2 hours at the latest.

Alternatively, you can have a PCR test done at your hotel or in town before departure. Here you can find our offers.

How do I get from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the city center?

There are several transfer options to the city center of Istanbul. The most convenient is a private transfer In addition, cabs or havabus rides are also available.

Bus lines E-10 and E-11 run between Sabiha Gökçen and Kadıköy, a district in the Asian part of Istanbul. From Kadıköy you can take a ferry to the European part of Istanbul (Eminönü, Karaköy and Kabataş). Both buses run every 20 minutes, the travel time from Sabiha Gökçen to Kadıköy is 60 minutes, but can take much longer depending on traffic.

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