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Istanbul Atatürk Airport

Istanbul Atatürk Airport

Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IATA: ISL, ICAO: LTBA) (former IATA code: IST) (Turkish: İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı) is a general aviation, business, and state aircraft airport in Istanbul. It closed on April 6, 2019, transferring commercial passenger flights to Istanbul Airport.

As of April 6, 2019, the airport is open only for cargo, maintenance, general aviation, air taxis, business flights and state and diplomatic aircraft, while commercial passenger flights are all handled at the newly built Istanbul Airport.[4][5]

First opened in 1912 in San Stefano (now Yeşilköy) as a military airfield, on the European side of the city, it is located 24 km (15 mi) west[6] of the city centre. The airport was originally named Yeşilköy Airport. In the 1980s, it was renamed Istanbul Atatürk International Airport in honour of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. It served more than 60 million passengers in 2015, making it the 11th-busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic and the 10th-busiest in the world in terms of international passenger traffic. In 2017, it was Europe's 5th-busiest airport after London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, having fallen from third place after a decline in passengers due to security fears.[7]

Istanbul Atatürk Airport was replaced in regards to commercial passenger functions by the newly constructed Istanbul Airport, in April 2019, in order to meet Istanbul's growing domestic and international air traffic demand as a source, destination and transit point. Both airports were used in parallel for five months from late 2018, with the new airport gradually expanding to serve more domestic and regional destinations.[8] On 6 April 2019, Atatürk's IST IATA airport code was inherited by Istanbul Airport and Atatürk Airport was assigned the code ISL after the full transfer of all scheduled passenger activities to the new airport was completed.[9] The final commercial flight, Turkish Airlines Flight 54, left Atatürk Airport on 6 April 2019 at 2.44am for Singapore.[10]

Istanbul Atatürk Airport

İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı
Ataturk Airport Karakas-1.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerGeneral Directorate of State Airports (DHMİ)
OperatorTAV Airports
ServesIstanbul, Turkey
LocationYeşilköy, Bakırköy, Istanbul
Opened1912 (as airfield)
1953 (as airport)[1]
ClosedApril 6, 2019
Hub for
  • MNG Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines Cargo
Elevation AMSL163 ft / 50 m
Coordinates40°58′34″N 028°48′51″E [51]
Websitewww.ataturkairport.com [52]
ISL is located in Istanbul
Location within Istanbul
ISL is located in Turkey
ISL (Turkey)
ISL is located in Europe
ISL (Europe)
05/232,5808,465Grooved Asphalt
Statistics (2018)
Total passengers67,981,446[2]
International passengers48,811,305
Source: Turkish AIP at Eurocontrol Turkey[3]


Defunct passenger terminals

Istanbul Atatürk Airport featured two passenger terminals linked to each other.[11] The former Domestic Terminal is the older and smaller of the two terminals and exclusively handled domestic flights within Turkey. It featured its own check-in and airside facilities on the upper floor, with twelve departure gates equipped with jet bridges.,[11] and five baggage reclaim belts on the ground level.[11] The former International Terminal was inaugurated in 2000 and used for all international flights. It featured a large main hall containing eight check-in isles and a wide range of airside facilities such as shops and restaurant, 34 gates equipped with jetbridges and 7 bus-boarding stands. The arrivals floor had 11 baggage reclaim belts.[11] In addition, there is a general aviation Terminal to the northwest of the passenger terminals.[12]

Cargo Terminal

The airport features a dedicated cargo terminal including facilities for the handling of radioactive and refrigerated freight.[13]

Other Facilities

  • Turkish Airlines has its headquarters in the Turkish Airlines General Management Building, located within the airport campus.[14][15]

  • Onur Air has its headquarters in Technical Hangar B.[16]

  • Prima Aviation Services Inc. has its MRO Facilities in new technical site at the air side Gate A.[17]

Airlines and destinations


As of April 2019, the airport no longer handles scheduled passenger flights but remains open for freight operations.


The following cargo airlines serve the airport on a regular basis as of June 2019.

Air Algérie CargoAlgiers
Air France CargoParis–Charles de Gaulle
ASL Airlines BelgiumLiège
DHL AviationLeipzig/Halle
EgyptAir CargoCairo
Ethiopian Airlines CargoAddis Ababa, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion[18]
FedEx ExpressParis–Charles de Gaulle
Hong Kong Airlines CargoAlmaty, Hong Kong, New Delhi
Iran Air CargoTehran–Imam Khomeini
Lufthansa CargoFrankfurt, Moscow–Domodedovo
MNG AirlinesAlmaty, Cologne/Bonn, Hahn, London–Luton, Munich, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Tripoli–Mitiga
MyCargo AirlinesBahrain, Hong Kong, Lahore, New York–JFK, Singapore, Tallinn
Royal Jordanian CargoAmman
Qatar Airways CargoDoha
Silk Way AirlinesBaku
Turkish Airlines CargoAccra, Aguadilla,[19] Algiers, Almaty, Amman, Amsterdam, Ashgabat, Atlanta, Baghdad,[20] Baku, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beirut, Belgrade, Bishkek, Bogotá,[19] Budapest, Cairo, Casablanca, Chennai, Chicago–O'Hare, Colombo, Dakar–Senghor,[21] Delhi, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai–Al Maktoum, Entebbe, Erbil, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Houston–Intercontinental,[19] Hyderabad, Islamabad, Kano,[19] Karachi, Khartoum, Kiev, Kinshasa, Lagos, London–Stansted, Maastricht/Aachen, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan–Malpensa, Moscow-Sheremetyevo,[22] Miami,[19] Minsk, Mumbai, Nairobi, Niš,[23] New York–JFK, São Paulo–Guarulhos,[21] Nur-Sultan, Sarajevo, Seoul–Incheon, Shanghai–Pudong, Shannon, Stockholm-Arlanda, Taipei–Taoyuan,[19] Tashkent, Tbilisi, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Toronto–Pearson,[19] Tunis, Tuzla, Vienna, Vilnius, Zürich
ULS Airlines CargoBarcelona, Beijing–Capital, Hong Kong, Kiev–Boryspil, Manila, Manston, Shanghai–Pudong
UPS AirlinesAlgiers, Cologne/Bonn, Newark, Shenzhen
Uzbekistan AirwaysTashkent


Below is the passenger data and development for Istanbul Atatürk Airport for the years 2002–2018:[24]

Passenger statistics at Istanbul Atatürk Airport[[CITE|24|http://www.dhmi.gov.tr/istatistik.aspx]]
% change
% change
% change
World rank
World rank

Istanbul Atatürk Airport ranked 17th in ACI statistics at the end of 2011 in terms of international traffic with almost 24 million international passengers. It ranked 29th in the world in terms of total passenger traffic with over 37.4 million passengers in 2011. Its total traffic within the last decade more than tripled, and its international traffic quadrupled.[36][37] According to data from FlightStats in 2012, the İstanbul Atatürk Airport had the most flight delays in Europe, and was ranked second in flight cancellations.[38]

Accidents and incidents

  • On 30 January 1975, Turkish Airlines Flight 345, crashed into the Sea of Marmara during its final approach to the airport. All 42 passengers and crew on board were killed.[39]

  • On 25 April 2015, Turkish Airlines Flight 1878, operated by A320-200, TC-JPE was severely damaged in a landing accident. The aircraft aborted the first hard landing, which inflicted engine and gear damage. On the second attempt at landing, the right gear collapsed and the aircraft rolled off the runway spinning 180 degrees. All on board evacuated without injury.[40]

  • On 28 June 2016, three terrorists killed 44 civilians by gunfire and subsequent suicide bombings, along with 239 civilians injured.[41][42] The three men arrived in a taxi cab, and opened fire at a terminal. The three men blew themselves up when police opened fire. The airport has X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.[41][43]


  • The Turkish Chamber of Civil Engineers lists İstanbul Atatürk Airport as one of the fifty civil engineering feats in Turkey, a list of remarkable engineering projects completed in the first 50 years of the chamber's existence.[44]

  • In the 2013 Air Transport News awards ceremony, İstanbul Atatürk Airport was named Airport of the Year.[45]

  • The airport was named Europe's Best Airport in the 40-50 million passenger per year category at the 2013 Skytrax World Airport Awards.[46]


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