It's very easy to come to Istanbul by air. There are two international airports in Istanbul: Ataturk Airport in Yesilkoy on the European side of the city and Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Kurtkoy on the Asian side. The third international airport is under construction on the European side of the city and it's planned to be opened by the end of 2016, being the biggest airport in whole Europe. There are also a couple of
military airports and some private airstrips within the province.
The first aerodrome in Istanbul was opened in Yesilkoy neighborhood in 1912 for
military purposes. The civilian international airport was built between 1949-1953 by the Westinghouse Electric International Company and the IG White Engineering Corporation. Yesilkoy Airport was officially opened in August 1st, 1953.This was the first International airport of Istanbul and named after
Ataturk, the founder of the Republic.
When single runway became insufficient with the development of international civil aviation, a new runway was built in 1972. By the end of 90's, the airport was not able to
catch up with the increasing air traffic so there was a need of a new one. In 1997 a consortium led by two leading Turkish construction groups, Tepe and Akfen, won the BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) contract of the
Government for the new Istanbul
Ataturk Airport international terminal complex. The construction was completed in 22 months at a cost of 306 million US dollars. A third runway was also built. Today, Istanbul
Ataturk Airport is operated by TAV Istanbul Terminal Operations Company under the terms of the DHMI (State Airports Authority). TAV commenced the
Ataturk airport operation for 15.5 years at a cost of 3 billion USD, after which it will be
transferred to the State at no cost.
The airport is located 24 kilometers west of the city center (Taksim Square). It has a capacity of 20 million passengers per year. Inside the
Ataturk Airport terminals, there is a hotel with 85 rooms for overnight as well as hourly accommodation, several international and local restaurants, cafeterias and bars in the departure and arrival floors, a huge Duty Free area, several CIP - VIP and other lounges, a huge car park, several kiosks, conference halls, left
baggage, hairdresser, photography service, shoe shiners, news stands, grocery, florist,
medical services, pharmacy, rent-a-cars, travel agents, airline ticket offices, banking offices and ATM's etc. There are many taxis,
shuttle bus service to the city center, and a light railway (metro) to the old city area, easily accessible from the arrival floor.
Sabiha Gokcen was the first woman pilot of
Turkey and the first
woman combat pilot in the World during the late 30's that the airport is named after. She was also one of the stepdaughters of
Ataturk and lived between 1913-2001.
With the constant growth of arrivals and air traffic, there has been the need of a new airport for Istanbul. Because of the logistics and public demand, the Asian side of the city was chosen for this task. The construction was started in 1998 and finished in September 2000 with two runways. A private company, HEAS, is running the airport today under the regulations of DHMI (State Airports Authority).
The airport is located on the
Anatolian side of Istanbul at Kurtkoy in Pendik
district, at a distance of 12 kilometers to Pendik, 40 kilometers to
Kadikoy, and 50 kilometers to Taksim Square. It's also only 10 minutes away from Istanbul Park Formula 1 race circuit. With the new international terminal built on October 2009, the airport now has a capacity of 25 million passengers per year. Inside the terminals, there are CIP and VIP lounges, Duty Free shops, bars and cafeterias, pubs and restaurants, a hotel, post office, bank, emergency
medical service, rent-a-car, car parks etc. There are many taxis and
shuttle bus service to the city.
For flight schedule of Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, please
Its name comes from Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi, the first flying
Turk during the
Ottoman Empire of the 17th century. He copied bird wings and studied air flows, than jumping from the Galata Tower he
over flew the Bosphorus and landed at Uskudar district on the Asian side, around 6 kilometers in distance.
Hezarfen Airport is located in Catalca area near Buyukcekmece Lake, at 20 kilometers west of
Ataturk International Airport. The site has a single runway for full size motor aircrafts and small planes.
The airport code is LTBW. There are some flight schools where trainees receive pilot licenses and these companies are also giving air taxi services. Besides flying, there are also a model plane club, model cars racing track,
motocross dirt track, skateboard area, heliport, cafeteria and restaurant, and car parks. Several air shows and music concerts are also arranged on its grounds.