Are you taking off on an international adventure that will land you in Turkey? Interestingly, Turkey is one of the few nations in the world that sits in 2 separate continents, in this case, Europe and Asia.
As it’s a gateway from one side of the world to the other, the country gets an astounding rate of air traffic each year. An increasing number of passengers access Turkey as either their final destination or a regional hub to transfer to another part of the world. Here we’ll talk all about Turkey airports ahead of your trip so you know what to expect when you land.
- 1 How Many Turkish Airports Are There?
- 2 What Are the Turkey Airport Codes?
- 3 What Are the Main Istanbul Airports?
- 4 What Should I Know About the New Airport in Istanbul?
- 5 How Long Is a Flight to Turkey?
- 6 Can You Leave the Airport During a Layover in Turkey?
- 7 What Should I Know About Turkish Airport Transfers?
- 8 What Are the Tobacco Prices in Turkey’s Airports?
- 9 What Are the Turkey Holiday Resorts Near an Airport?
- 10 What Is Turkey’s Airport Security Like?
- 11 FAQs
- 12 List of Airports
How Many Turkish Airports Are There?
Turkey has 35 international and 22 domestic airports dotted around the country. You can catch a flight to just about anywhere in Turkey, no matter whether you’re headed for a beach holiday in the Turkish riviera, where you might fly into Antalya or Izmir, or to the stunning Cappadocia region, where you might fly into either Kayseri or Nevşehir Kapadokya.
The main airports in Turkey are, of course, in its largest cities. Istanbul’s 2 airports are by far the ones that receive the most passengers. Istanbul’s new airport was opened in early 2019 and will be able to handle up to 200 million passengers per year once it’s fully complete. Sabiha Gökçen Airport, serving the Asian side of Istanbul, sees nearly 30 million visitors per year.
Other highly transited Turkey international airports are Antalya, Ankara and Izmir, each one receiving over 10 million passengers each year.
What Are the Turkey Airport Codes?
Each airport, no matter where it is in the world, has its own code to identify it. Here are the codes for Turkey’s most-transited airports.
- Istanbul New (IST)
- Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW)
- Antalya (AYT)
- Ankara Esenboğa (ESB)
- İzmir Adnan Menderes (ADB)
- Adana (ADA)
What Are the Main Istanbul Airports?
Being one of Europe’s busiest cities, Istanbul has 2 main airports. Istanbul’s new airport (IST), officially the world’s largest airport under one roof, is fully operational as of early 2019. It was built to replace Atatürk Airport, and all passengers are being re-routed there. In upcoming years, the airport will continue to expand, eventually serving over 200 million passengers per year. It’s located around 35 kilometres north of the city centre.
Serving the Asian side of the city, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) was named after Turkey’s first female pilot. It’s located around 50 kilometres from Taksim Square and the city centre.
If you need to travel between these two main airports, keep in mind that it’s quite far, and could take you upwards of 2 hours to make the journey.
Atatürk Airport (ISL) was historically one of the busiest in Europe, but is now only being used for cargo.
What Should I Know About the New Airport in Istanbul?
Istanbul’s new airport (IST) has been an ambitious undertaking. It took 42 months to build it to what it is now, officially opening for air traffic in April 2019. Its main terminal occupies 1.4 million square metres, making it the world’s largest airport building under one roof!
IST can currently handle around 90 million passengers per year, but it’s still in its early development stages. There are plans to expand the airport to more runways and a second passenger terminal. Its final phase of development will bring the total runway count to 6, and at its full capacity, it will be able to serve 200 million passengers per year.
IST offers all the services you might need and more, including a 451-room hotel, 44 prayer rooms, a mosque, a variety of bars and restaurants, duty free shopping, VIP lounges, a large parking area, hair salon, shoe shiners, kiosks, florist, pharmacy, medical services, and bank services. You can also find a number of rent-a-car companies, travel agents, and ticket offices. The airport is well-connected to the city centre by taxi and shuttle bus, and a light rail line is planned to be completed by the end of 2020.
How Long Is a Flight to Turkey?
Of course, it depends on where you’re flying from, but we’ve included some flight times from major cities around the world so you can get a general idea.
- From London to Istanbul the flight is 3 hours 37 minutes.
- If you’re flying from Moscow it’s 2 hours 41 minutes.
- It’s nearly the same if you’re coming from Berlin, 2 hours and 40 minutes.
- Hopping over from Tel Aviv? It’ll only take you about 1 and a half hours.
- You can get to Turkey from Delhi in 6 hours.
- From New York it takes 10 hours 33 minutes to get to Istanbul.
- Coming from across the US in Los Angeles, it takes 14 and a half hours.
- Flying from Shanghai will take you 10 and a half hours.
If you’re headed to a beach holiday, for example, from Vienna to Antalya the flight is 2 hours 38 minutes.
You can get from Dublin to Dalaman in 4 and a half hours.
In summary, you can travel to Turkey from pretty much anywhere in Europe in less than 5 hours. Travelling from the Middle East is quite fast, as you can get there in under 2 hours. From Asia and the Americas you’ll spend a considerable amount of time travelling to get to Turkey, but it’s well worth the journey!
Can You Leave the Airport During a Layover in Turkey?
Many people pass through Turkey, especially Istanbul, on their treks across the globe. Layovers present the opportunity to get a quick glance of the city, and if you have several hours, it’s worth getting out and looking around.
First of all, if you want to leave the airport, check whether your country requires a visa for Turkey. Even if you’re just leaving the airport for a few hours, you have to pass through customs and they will ask to see your visa. Most EU countries don’t require one, but many others do.
Remember that you need to account for the time you need to pass through customs and security, so budget at least a couple of hours. On top of that, factor in the time it takes to get to the city centre from the airport.
If you have more than 10 hours, you can take advantage of your time to enjoy some fascinating architecture and landmarks, or you can even take a full tour!
What Should I Know About Turkish Airport Transfers?
Airports in Turkey offer all types of transfers to get you safely and quickly to your destination. Rail services are still being developed for Istanbul and should be complete by late 2020. You can easily take taxis, shuttle buses or regular buses from any Turkish airport. A taxi from Istanbul Airport to the city centre will take you between 30 minutes to an hour and cost around USD $15.00.
If you’d prefer to hire a car, many of the largest car rental companies operate in Turkey’s main airports. You’ll need to make sure you have proper documentation to be able to drive legally.
What Are the Tobacco Prices in Turkey’s Airports?
You can typically get a pack of 20 cigarettes in Turkey for around USD $3.00 to $7.00, which is 13 to 18 Turkish lira. In the airport or on your flight, you can buy a carton of 10 packs duty-free and the cost would be anywhere from USD $40.00 to $60.00, depending on the brand. Keep in mind the limits for what you can take home with you:
- 200 cigarettes per passenger
- 10 cigars per passenger
- 200 gms of tobacco per passenger
- 200 grams of pipe tobacco per person
- 200 grams of chewing tobacco per person
What Are the Turkey Holiday Resorts Near an Airport?
If you’re wondering which airport you need for getting to a Turkey beach, you’ll want to fly into Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman or Izmir. Antalya is the busiest and most important, especially during the summer months, due to its location on the Mediterranean coast.
If you want to stay in a resort that’s as close to the airport as possible, you could choose Gumbet, which is near Bodrum Airport, Dalyan, close to Dalaman Airport, or Lara, quite close to Antalya Airport.
What Is Turkey’s Airport Security Like?
Turkish airport security has tightened up in recent years. The government has spent billions of dollars ensuring the safety of the passengers who travel there.
When you first arrive, you’ll pass through your first security checkpoint at the entry doors, where you go through a baggage X-ray and a metal detector.
Once you’ve checked in and dropped off your checked luggage, you’ll go through passport control and a second baggage X-ray and security check, similar to what’s done in most countries.
At your departure gate you may be subject to one final immigration check, depending on your destination. At the very least you’ll present your passport and boarding pass before you take off.
You can read more about staying safe and secure in Turkey in our dedicated article here.
Hopefully by now you know everything you need to and more about flying into this Western Asian Republic. If you’d like to learn more, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions!
Do Turkey’s Airports Offer Duty-Free Shopping?
Fortunately, you can shop duty-free in all international airports in Turkey. You can buy perfumes, candies, tobacco, alcohol, skin care products and more during your visit. There are limits as to how much you can buy, but it’s a great chance to pay a bit less for those products.
Can I Get a Visa at the Airport in Turkey?
Turkey used to offer what’s called Visa on Arrival services at its major airports. Certain nationalities could stand in a queue and pay the visa fee upon arrival. However, the Turkish government has eliminated this service and now all visitors who need a visa must obtain one online in advance. It’s quick and simple to do so, in fact it saves you from standing in long queues and paying in cash!
Are Turkey’s Airports Safe for Transit?
Turkey’s airports are among the safest in the world, thanks to heightened security measures and billions of dollars in government investment. As tourism is a huge contributor to the local economy, Turkey has taken extra precautions to keep its visitors safe. After political instability caused damages at Atatürk Airport in 2016, additional screening measures were put into place, checking incoming passengers at various points.
What’s the Cheapest Airport to Fly into Turkey?
Most international flights will land in Istanbul. The majority of the budget carriers, such as Turkey’s own Pegasus Airlines, use Sabiha Gökçen (SAW). This airport on the Anatolia side of the city and is a bit further out than IST, but using a budget airline can offer great savings for your trip.
Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman are served by European budget airline Ryanair, but you can only travel to those cities on Ryanair from Dublin, Bratislava or Vienna.
What Should I Know About Turkey Airport Currency Exchange?
When you arrive, you’ll probably need to have some local currency, the Turkish lira, to get around and do some basic shopping. You can exchange money before leaving the airport, and you have a few different options to do so.
You can use a company called Global Exchange that has kiosks around the airport. Their rates vary but you can expect to pay potentially an exchange margin of 5 to 10 percent for their services.
Alternatively, you can try using a bank, as the airport has at least a few bank branches. The currency exchange margin may be a bit lower, but what you should keep in mind with banks is that they’ll charge a commission, usually around 4 percent.
Finally, you can use your debit card to take money out of an ATM right in the airport. This would be your best bet if you don’t get charged a hefty fee for using your debit card in a foreign cash machine.
How Do You Say “Airport” in Turkey?
Ready to learn a few basic Turkish words? The word for airport in Turkish is Havalimanı, pronounced “ha vah lee ma nuh.” Alternatively, you can use the word Havaalanı, pronounced “ha VAH le nuh.” Airport terminal would be said Havaalanı terminali.
Where Do Turkey Airport Departures and Arrivals Go To?
You can see live arrivals and departures here.
List of Airports
|Ankara Esenboğa Airport
|Balıkesir Koca Seyit Airport
|Bursa Yenişehir Airport
|Denizli Çardak Airport
|Eskişehir Hasan Polatkan Airport
|Isparta Süleyman Demirel Airport
|Istanbul New Airport
|Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport
|İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport
|Kars Harakani Airport
|Kocaeli Cengiz Topel Airport
|Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport
|Ordu Giresun Airport
|Sivas Nuri Demirağ Airport
|Şanlıurfa GAP Airport
|Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport
|Van Ferit Melen Airport
|Zonguldak Çaycuma Airport
|Ağrı Ahmed-i Hani Airport
|Amasya Merzifon Airport
|Aydın Çıldır Airport
|Balıkesir Merkez Airport
Hakkari–Yüksekova Selahaddin Eyyubi Airport
|Istanbul Hezarfen Airfield
|Şırnak Şerafettin Elçi Airport