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Istanbul International Airport (IST) : Gateway to Two Continents

Istanbul International Airport (IST) : Gateway to Two Continents

Istanbul Airport: Bridging Continents and Cultures Through Modern Aviation

Straddling the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Istanbul boasts an enviable position in world geography, history, and culture. Its illustrious past is mirrored in its dynamic present, and nowhere is this intermingling more evident than at the Istanbul International Airport (IST). As one of the busiest and most strategic airports in the world, IST is not just an aviation hub, but a testament to Turkey's vision for the future while echoing whispers of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires of the past. Join us as we journey through the terminals, explore its state-of-the-art facilities, and delve into the stories that make this airport a world unto itself.

The Istanbul Airport stands as a beacon of this duality, connecting over 350 destinations across 110 countries. Opened on 29/10/18 and now one of the world's busiest hubs, the airport is not just an aviation marvel but also a microcosm of the city's essence. It blends state-of-the-art technology with shopping  experiences that rival any global mall. With an ambitious vision, by 2025, it aims to accommodate over 200 million passengers, echoing the city's enduring resonance in both the past and future.

Conveniently located in Arnavutkoy, 40 km from Taksim and 55 km from Kadıkoy, travelers can easily find private transfers, complete with English-speaking drivers, ensuring a seamless journey to and from the airport. Dive deep into the world of Istanbul Airport with us, and uncover the tales of an aviation giant that's truly in a league of its own.

Istanbul's Aerodynamic Marvel: Discover the Best of IST Airport

Istanbul Airport Overview

Opened in April 2018, Istanbul Airport has swiftly established itself as the primary aviation hub on the European side of Istanbul, following the closure of the iconic Atatürk Airport. Spanning over 76.5 million square meters, it has been envisioned to house not only two terminals and six runways but also an expansive 'Istanbul Airport City' project that is currently under development. This ambitious venture will feature hotels, residences, business centers, a hospital, cultural centers, and a fairground.

Explore Istanbul Airport in 360°

Dining & Shopping at Istanbul Airport

Dining: Whether you have a brief layover or are waiting for your next flight, Istanbul Airport promises a culinary journey with over 150 eateries, ranging from fast-food outlets and coffee shops to gourmet restaurants. While some options might lean towards the pricier side, the diverse selection caters to all palates, especially in the international sections.

Shopping: Shopaholics can revel in an array of choices. The international lines boast sprawling Duty-Free stores, while domestic travelers can indulge in cosmetic, pharmacy, entertainment, and apparel outlets. An exclusive 'Bazaar' section celebrates local products, offering a genuine taste of Turkish culture and craftsmanship.

Guidance for Transit Passengers

Covering a staggering 1.4 million square meters, the Istanbul Airport terminal services both domestic and international passengers. The facility is equipped with ample check-in counters and baggage areas. Additionally, to streamline international travel, numerous passport control counters are available. Given the vastness of the airport, travelers are advised to reach at least 3 hours ahead of their flight to account for potential walking distances and any unforeseen delays.

Innovations in Retail at Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport elevates the retail experience with cutting-edge technology. Features like 3D Holograms, rechargeable smart shopping carts, and mobile cash registers redefine shopping. The 'Magic Mirror' application lets customers preview watches, sunglasses, accessories, and more without physically trying them on. Stores equipped with electronic customer profile recognition enhance personalized shopping experiences. Moreover, the airport ensures inclusivity with specialized vehicles and trained staff to assist physically disabled customers.

Airport Turkish Culture Promotion Museum

Launched in 2020 within the international section, the Istanbul Airport Turkish Culture Museum celebrates Turkey's rich heritage. Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, this 1000 square-meter space showcases artifacts or replicas representing various Turkish civilizations. Annually rotating exhibitions refresh the collection, with the 2020 highlight being "The Faces of Turkey Treasures", featuring 316 pieces from 29 provinces.

Discover Your Journey: Flights To and From Istanbul Airport

İstanbul Airport Essential Information

Visa Procedures at Istanbul Airport

Citizens from countries that require a visa to enter Turkey can obtain them at two visa counters situated before the passport control, following your exit from the aircraft gates.

To ensure a smooth visa process, gather preliminary information and apply in advance at e-Visa Turkey.

Transit Visa Information

  • International passengers transiting through Istanbul Airport can proceed to their connecting flights after a security check. Note: If you have checked luggage, you'll need to claim it during this process.

Assistance Services by Turkish Airlines (THY) at Istanbul Airport

Airlines typically offer assistance services. To request service, visit your airline's official website. Informing them in advance helps reduce your wait time upon arrival.

Upon reaching the airport, use the assistance call phones at the entrance gates to contact the service provider. A waiting bench is located opposite the first entrance for your convenience.

Special Assistance Services by THY

Turkish Airlines offers assistance for passengers with specific needs—sick or disabled passengers, elderly individuals, children, those with language barriers or travel anxieties, and visually impaired travelers. After requesting assistance, such passengers are escorted based on their check-in schedules. To avail this, forward your flight and identification details to the Istanbul Airport call center.

Note: Istanbul Airport proudly supports accessible travel for everyone, ensuring disabled and elderly passengers can travel independently.

Facilities for Passengers with Disabilities

For those requiring a quieter space or needing to charge their electric wheelchairs, rooms equipped with phones are available. There's also a secluded area for passengers needing to stow away their prostheses for the flight, along with flight information screens for stress-free waiting.

The airport features two service points for disabled passengers, located in the B and M check-in sections on the departure floor.

Free Wi-Fi at Istanbul Airport

Enjoy one hour of complimentary Wi-Fi. Access the service using either an SMS verification or your passport number.

For SMS Access:

  1. Click on "Iga Mobile" login.
  2. Select your country code, input your number (omitting the area code), agree to terms, and hit "Enter."
  3. Input the SMS code received on your phone and click "Continue."

Scan and verify your passport at a designated kiosk to receive a Wi-Fi code.

Connect your device to the Wi-Fi and select the passport entry option on the login page.

Enter your passport number and the kiosk-provided password, agree to terms, and click "Login."

  • Should you face issues with the Wi-Fi, assistance is available at 444 01 45.

Private Transport Services at Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport Transportation Guide

Private Transfer Service Providers at Istanbul Airport

Tourism and transfer operators are available in the passenger reception area within the international arrivals section of Istanbul Airport.

Istanbul Airport Shuttle Services

Havaist Shuttle:

  • Accepts both İstanbul cards and credit cards on-board and at designated ticket sale points.
  • Located on the transportation floor, which you can access by taking the elevators in front of the passenger arrival floor's entrance doors and following the "Transportation Floor" signs.
  • Havaist buses connect Istanbul Airport with various city centers such as Taksim, Kadıkoy, Besiktas, Yenikapi, Pendik, and Mecidiyekoy.
  • As of January 2023, Havaist prices range from 92 TL to 185 TL, depending on travel distance. They operate 24/7.

IETT Services:

  • IETT offers a cost-effective transportation solution with four different lines serving only on the European side:
    1. H-1: Mahmutbey metro - Istanbul Airport
    2. H-2: Mecidiyekoy - Istanbul Airport
    3. H-3: Halkali - Istanbul Airport
    4. H-4: Ataturk airport - Istanbul Airport

Private Transportation Companies at Istanbul Airport

Companies such as Baf Turizm, By Coach Travel, Carme Turizm, Donat Turizm, Easy Transfer, Mokan Tur Turizm, Murat Turizm, Royalvan, and Yusra Tourism are available. Cab Istanbul is also growing in online services and offers diverse transportation solutions.

Taxis at Istanbul Airport

Available at exit gates 9 (domestic) and 13 (international). 

Istanbul Airport Taxi Fare for September 2023:

Journey DetailsDistance (km)Duration (min)Maroon/Yellow Taxi (TL)Turquoise Taxi (TL)Black Taxi (TL)
1 km1170.0080.50119.00
10 km1013156.67170.34251.79

Note: Tolls for bridges and highways are not included in these taxi fares. If your route includes toll bridges and highways, additional costs will be added to the calculated fare.

İstanbul Airport Metro Line M11 

The long-awaited Metro Line M11 finally started operating in January 2023. Offering Istanbul Airport passengers the opportunity to travel super fast and comfortably to the city of Istanbul. While the driverless M11 currently covers 34 kilometers from Istanbul Airport to Kağıthane, with the additional expansion to be made in the first half of 2023, it will connect Istanbul Airport to Gayrettepe Station and the total length of the line will be 37.5 kilometers.

Istanbul Airport metro line currently serves 7 metro stations. Thus, after leaving the airport (IST terminal and Cargo terminal stations), M11 stops at İhsaniye, Göktürk, Kemerburgaz and Hasdal and ends its journey in Kağıthane.

Our advice: After arriving in Kağıthane, you can take the M7 Metro Line. With the addition of Gayrettepe Station to the M11 route, Istanbul Airport will be connected to the M2 Metro Line and the Metrobus network in Gayrettepe (Zincirlikuyu Metrobus Stop).

Timetables of Istanbul Airport Metro Line 

The M11 Metro Line leaves the airport every 8 minutes and heads towards Kağıthane (and from mid-2023 to Gayrettepe), providing frequent transfer services from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul. Although the departure times have not been determined yet, it is expected to operate from approximately 06:00 in the morning until midnight, like other Istanbul metro lines. Therefore, unfortunately, Istanbul airport metro does not operate at night.

Round Trip Metro Fares and Prices to Istanbul Airport 

First of all, metro tickets cannot be purchased with cash or debit card. On the contrary, you will need to buy a rechargeable card - Istanbulkart - and load money onto it (using cash only). Therefore, Istanbul airport metro tickets can only be purchased via Istanbulkart. Istanbul cards, which cost 60₺ (€2.94/$3.10), can be purchased and loaded from automatic machines at the airport metro station. One-way ticket price is 9.90₺ (0.48€/0.50$), and as the construction of the line progresses and the distance it covers extends, the ticket price will increase up to 12₺ (0.59€/0.70$). . Children under 6 travel free of charge.

Private Transportation to/from Istanbul Airport

Located 40-50 kilometers from the city center, it's important to note that traffic can vary and impact your travel time. For a comfortable journey, consider the private transfer services from Cab İstanbul. Their online airport transfer page lets you easily book a ride.

Cab Istanbul offers a premium service that balances cost, comfort, convenience, and trust. Their extensive fleet can accommodate different group sizes, ensuring a seamless transfer experience not just for airport passengers but for anyone in the city.

Istanbul Airport Metro | Transportation

Istanbul Airport Guide

Charging StationsAvailable in seating areas with standard sockets and USB inputs.Free
Places of Worship- 22 Masjids for males and 22 for females.<br>- Worship area for other religions at F pier on the departure floor.Free
Baggage WrappingAvailable at departure entrances 3 and 5.Approx. 5 USD
Fee StampsPurchase at devices near passport control on the departure floor.Varies (Can pay at banks)
Health Clinic"Şafak Health Clinic" offers 24/7 outpatient services.Paid services
Porter ServicesAvailable near departure entrances 2, 5, 7, and at luggage belt areas on the arrival floor.Varies
Luggage StorageTwo storage areas on the arrivals floor and additional storage on the departure floor.Varies
Car WashLocated on the R floor of the parking area.Varies
Valet ServicePay at payment points near gates 9 and 13 on the arrival floor.10 USD (excl. parking fee)
Parking PaymentManual or automatic payment devices located at L-8 axis at P2 exit, P3 floor of Red and Green car parks, and more.Varies
Lost & FoundOffice across the R check-in island, beyond the 7th entrance gate on the departures floor. Lost docs to airport security unit.N/A
IGA Pass ServicesProvides pick-up and drop-off, fast transit, lounge access, and more. Three IGA Pass service points on the departing floor.Varies
Yotel AccommodationsBook via website or email.Check website or email.
Rest AreasFree rest areas in the terminal. Paid sleeping cabins in the international departures area.Free (Cabins at a fee)

İstanbul Airport Taxi

Exploring Lounge Options at Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport offers its travelers a variety of lounge experiences tailored to meet diverse needs.

IGA Lounge: This is the primary common lounge at Istanbul Airport. Access is granted to passengers who either purchase the IGA Lounge service directly or have an IGA Pass membership. Additionally, travelers flying with certain affiliated airlines, or those who are privileged customers of partnered institutions that offer IGA Lounge access, can also enjoy its services.

THY Domestic CIP Lounge: Specifically for domestic flights, this lounge welcomes Turkish Airlines' Business Class passengers and those holding Frequent Flyer cards.

Turkish Airlines International Lounge: Intended for international travelers, this lounge is accessible to Business Class passengers of Star Alliance as well as to those with Frequent Flyer cards.

Skyteam Lounge: Serving international flights, this lounge primarily caters to passengers of Skyteam member airlines.

Remember, lounge policies and access criteria might change, so always check with your airline or the airport's official site before your trip.

 Personal Privileges-Iga Pass

Feel special at Istanbul Airport with İGA PASS's tailor-made premium services.

Outgoing passenger;Arriving passengerTransit passenger
Personal AssistantPersonal assistantPersonal assistant
Porter ServicePorter ServicePorter Service
priority Escorting to the carEscorting to the gate
IGA Fast TrackIGA Fast TrackIGA Fast Track
Escorting to the gate  
İGA Lounge  


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