New Istanbul Airport: what is important to know about Istanbul Airport and how to get to the city

New Istanbul Airport (Istanbul Havalimani, IST) is one of the most modern and largest airports in the world. It was officially opened on October 29, 2018, and it completely replaced Ataturk International Airport from April 6, 2019 as the main passenger airport of Istanbul.

Travellizy Team monitors how the new airport works at a distance of 35 km from the city and shares with you useful tips.


Istanbul Airport Arrival Area

After the standard procedure of passport control, passengers get their baggage and go to the arrival area on the ground floor, where they can immediately exchange currency or withdraw cash from an ATM. The rate at the airport is not the most profitable (1 TL = 0.145 USD as of May 2019), so only just change the necessary amount, as you can change the rest in the city at the best rate (1 TL = 0.165 USD).



New Istanbul Airport Departure Area

The departure area is on the second level, and there are 7 entrances to the Terminal:

• 1 and 2 - for domestic flights,

• 3, 4, 6, 7 - for international,

• 5 - a separate entrance for the Turkish Airlines business class and Miles & Smiles program participants.


You can find a lot of baggage carts near the bus stop, but you can't take them just like that - the deposit system works here: you pay 5 TL (with coins, banknotes or credit cards), use a cart, look for the same machine inside the airport, scan the ticket, return the cart to the line and take a deposit. Inside, it’s harder to find such a line, and many people simply leave the carts at any convenient place without returning the deposit - a good extra income for the airport is obtained.


To enter the airport, you must first go through general control, then find the registration desk of your airline and check in for the flight (if you didn't check in online). By the way, when buying a ticket with Travellizy, our team will check in one day before departure and send tickets to your email.


Also in the departure area, there are many terminals for self check-in at the airport.

check in

If you have additional questions, you can use the “Ask me!” information panel service. At first it seems that this is an automatic panel where you need to choose a question, but be prepared that when you press the red button, an employee will appear who will answer your questions.

ask me

If you need to pack your baggage, look for the green Quick Wrap racks, and for €12.5/$14/85TL, your suitcase will be protected by a wrap. There is also the possibility of packaging in cardboard boxes of different sizes, sealed plastic bag or in air bubble wrap (for fragile things).

Quick Wrap

Then, you take a photo to remember next to the Istanbul inscription near the international departure are and pass to the next security control, passport control and boarding.



Where to have a rest in Istanbul Airport

The new Istanbul Airport has the YOTEL, one of the largest airport hotels in the world (and the largest in Europe) with 451 rooms (they are called cabins), 174 of them are inside the terminal. YOTEL (Landside) can be booked by anyone, and YOTELAIR is available only for international flight passengers of the new Istanbul Airport, since it is located after passport control.



This hotel is an excellent option for those who have an early flight, late arrival or just a long layover, when they want to relax. Room rate starts from € 70 for 4 hours.


Istanbul Airport mobile app

We recommend you to download the Istanbul Airport mobile app - you will find not only information about flights, restaurants and cafes, shopping, ATMs and transport here, but also be able to plan a route from home to the airport using the "Home to Airport" function, and thanks to the "Discover Istanbul" function, you will learn about interesting events that take place in Istanbul.

mobile app


How to get from the new Istanbul Airport to the city center

Travelers have several options on how to get to the city: by public transport, taxi or rent a car (they plan to add the metro by 2020). If you choose a bus, then we recommend to immediately purchase Istanbulkart for 6 TL - this is a reloadable card for any public transport in Istanbul (metro, bus, tram, funicular, ferry). Travel to the city from the new Istanbul Airport is also paid for by this card, the stop is at the 2nd level, where the “Bus / Shuttle / Pick Up” signs lead.



Public Transport from Istanbul Airport

Public transport services are offered by Havaist, IETT and Istanbul Seyahat. In the popular parts of Istanbul (Sultanahmet, Taksim, Besiktas, Yenikapi, etc.), Havaist has 20 routes and 65 stops to deliver travelers.

The fare depends on the distance (from 12 TL to 25 TL), therefore, check your stop in advance and reload your Istanbulkart with the required amount or more, since you will use it more than once.

istanbul card

To reload the card, it is not necessary to insert it into the machine, it is just enough to bring it to the window with backlight. You can also choose any language, so you shouldn’t have any difficulties with this process.

There are huge signs with directions and platform numbers on the wall, the number and route are also indicated on the platform and on the buses, so everything is quite simple.

bus numbers

Havaist buses run around the clock with an interval of 15 to 40 minutes (depending on the stop and time of day).

Detailed Havaist bus timetable can be found on the web site.


The Istanbul Airport impresses with its scale and design solutions. Currently, the air harbor is capable of receiving about 90 million passengers a year, using only one terminal. When the airport is fully completed, it will be able to serve about 200 million passengers a year, which will make it the largest in the world (although a lot can change in the meantime).