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Atatürk International Airport (formerly Yeşilköy International Airport) ( ) is the major international airport in Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker. Located in Yeşilköymarker, on the European side of the city, it is west of the city centre. The airport is named in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and the first president of the Republic of Turkey. With passenger traffic of 28.5 million for the year 2008, it is projected to be among the top 40 airports in the world in terms of total passenger traffic and top-35 in terms of international passenger traffic. It is Europe's 10th busiest airport. See statistics below for more information.


There are three terminals, one international (Terminal B), one domestic (Terminal A) and one cargo terminal (Terminal C). Inaugurated in 2001, the international terminal is an efficient and modern terminal. After the new terminal opened, domestic flights have been moved to the old international terminal. Despite its 1970s design, this new domestic terminal can handle more passengers than the more modern but smaller previous domestic terminal.

The airport terminals have been operated by TAV (Tepe-Akfen-Ventures) since January 2000. TAV has invested US$600 million since 1998. In 2005 TAV won the concession agreement to operate Atatürk for 15.5 years at a record breaking amount of $3 billion, which also represents the highest figure for such a privatization project in Turkey, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Commonwealth of Independent States and North Africa.

TAV (Tepe-Akfen-Ventures) started its construction at the airport for new boarding gates at international terminal as well as building a new air traffic control tower. Unused facility buildings are demolished and 3 new boarding bridges are being built. When the new tower is completed, the old one will be demolished.When the international terminal is expanded, some of the jet ways will be left to the domestics terminal which are on the west of the international terminal, connected to it. Also there is a plan to build another runway parallel to runway 06/24, so when the original runway 06/24 is under repair, this runway will be able to handle the traffic without any problem. But to work on this project, the military land is a fact of negotiation between the authorities as the space for new runway belongs to military. Also there are plans to expand the length of the runway 06/24 as well, by this way, runway will be able to handle larger aircraft as most airlines started to fly to Istanbul with larger aircrafts.[24272].

Airlines and destinations

Terminal A - Domestic

Atatürk Airport at night.

Terminal B - International

Cargo airlines


Free Wireless LAN is available at the international arrival area (after customs control) and in the international departure area (after passport control).There is an airport hotel, [24273], connected to the terminal. Also, in 5 miles radius of the hotel, there is Radisson SAS, Marriott Renaissance, Holiday Inn Airport North, Four Points and Sheraton.

In the airport, there are two Starbucks outlets (one in arrivals and the other in the departure lounge after the passport control, near gate 218) and Gloria Jean's coffee shops among others, both in arrival and departure. At the departure, coffee shops are beyond passport control. There are three Burger King outlets. There is a unisex barber shop, on the mezzanine level of the departure concourse, before passport control.Pharmacy and Post office are located on the arrival level.There is a storage area at the arrivals level.All major car rental agencies are present at the arrivals. Hertz offers Gold Service.There are book shops and newspaper stands at the departure before and after passport control. International newspapers are available at those before and after passport control; English books are found at those after passport control.Istanbul's famous Gulluoglu baklava [24274]is available at several outlets on the departures concourse after passport control.


Atatürk Airport still faces capacity issues; it ranks somewhere between 30th and 40th in the world by both cargo and passenger traffic, handling over 766,000 tonnes of load (cargo, freight and mail) and over 28.5 million passengers in the year 2008. The total number of passengers has doubled in the past five years, and domestic traffic has almost quadrupled (see statistics section below). Its rated capacity of 14 million international passengers per year and 10 million domestic passengers per year was barely sufficient for the demand in 2007 and 2008. The Istanbul greater metropolitan area is expected/projected to have a demand of 25 million international passengers and 25 million domestic passengers annually by the year 2015. However, introduction of high speed trains between Ankaramarker and Istanbul in 2010, and completion of the construction of the intercity highways linking Istanbul to other cities (to Bursamarker, İzmirmarker, Antalyamarker and the Black Seamarker Speedway) may help decrease this demand.

Atatürk shares traffic with Sabiha Gökçen International Airportmarker, which is on the Anatolianmarker (Asian) side of Istanbul, which had annual passenger traffic of just 4.3 million in 2008. The two airports both provide domestic and international service to the Istanbul area.

Below is the passenger data for Istanbul for the years 2002–2008:


The 'total' column below exclude the number of transit passengers. For the year 2007, 2,706,614 transit passengers used Turkish airports, and 2,365,206 (87.4%) of this was through Istanbul Atatürk Airport. [24275][24276]

İstanbul Atatürk International Airport Passenger Traffic Statistics
Year (months) Domestic International Total Total(incl. transit)**
2009 (first 9 months)* 8,676,082 (-2.3%) 13,582,616 (+5.8%) 22,258,698 (+2.5%)
2008 (all) 9,447,549 (-1.5%) 14,585,774 (+7.3%) 24,033,323 (+3.6%) 28,553,132 (+11.7%)
2007 (all) 9,595,923 (+5.5%) 13,600,306 (+11.7%) 23,196,229 (+9.1%) 25,561,435
2006 (all) 9,091,693 (+21.0%) 12,174,281 (+3.3%) 21,265,974 (+10.2%)
2005 (all) 7,512,282 (+38.3%) 11,781,487 (+15.9%) 19,293,769 (+23.7%)
2004 (all) 5,430,925 (+69.9%) 10,169,676 (+14.2%) 15,600,601 (+28.9)
2003 (all) 3,196,045 (+12.1%) 8,908,268 (+4.7%) 12,104,342 (+6.6%)
2002 (all) 2,851,487 8,506,204 11,357,691

İstanbul Airport Load Statistics (cargo+freight+mail)
Year (months) Load Cargo only ***
2008 (all) 766,221 (+4.3%) 349,999 (+5.2%)
2007 (all) 734,820 (+14%) 332,753 (+13.7%)
2006 (all) 644,901 (+4.7%) 292,678 (+7.3%)
2005 (all) 615,909 (+7%) 272,735 (+3.1%)
2004 (all) 573,284 (+14%) 264,599 (+15.5%)
2003 (all) 502,692 (+4.7%) 229,076 (+8.4%)
2002 (all) 480,022 (---) 211,412 (+31.0%)
(*) Preliminary data(**) Estimate based on total transit volume of Turkish airports.(***) Link:[24277]Source:

More statistics

  • For 2009, IST was ranked 26th, 23rd, 19th, 21st and 25th among the world airports by international passenger traffic category in February, March, April, May and June 2009 by the Airports Council International. It ranks 23rd by the same category in year-to-date ranking as of end of June 2009. It is currently one of the only three airports with positive growth in that category in ACI's top-30 list.
[ACI Euro Airport Statistics][ACI latest statistics]


There are several ways to travel between Atatürk International Airport and the city center.
  • Light Rail Service : Light rail service exists between Aksaraymarker and Atatürk International Airport. The line goes through some major parts of the European side of the city; including the intercity bus terminal. The LRT takes the passengers to Aksaray in 30–35 minutes. The approximate cost is 0.75 euros one-way.
  • Airport Shuttle Service : The shuttle services are operated by Havaş, which is one of the major ground handling companies within Turkey. The busses run half-hourly to Bakırköymarker, Yenikapı, Aksaray, Taksim Squaremarker, hourly to Kozyatağı (on the Anatolian side), two-hourly to Etilermarker-Akmerkezmarker. Also, there is a fast ferry terminal in Bakırköy which connects the terminal to Bostancı and Kadıköymarker. Havaş buses run between the airport and the fast ferry terminal according to the departures and arrivals of the ferries.
  • Municipality Bus : Municipality buses also run to Taksim, Etiler and Kozyatağı. This is a slower but much cheaper alternative than Havaş.
  • Car : The airport is accessible through the coastal road, D-100 international road and TEM (Trans-European Motorway).

Incidents and accidents

At the airport

  • 2006 fire: At about 3:30 p.m. (local summer time, GMT+3) on 24 May 2006, a fire broke out in the cargo terminal (Terminal C) building, about 1 km away from the international and domestic terminal buildings, billowing clouds of black smoke and forcing the suspension of some air traffic. Local officials have reportedly attributed the fire to sparks from a soldering iron. Three people were treated for smoke inhalation. The fire was under control after 90 minutes of work by firemen and accompanying two Bombardier CL-215 fire-fighting planes which were hired two days previously by the Metropolitan Municipality.
  • On 23 March 2007 an Ariana Afghan Airlines Airbus A300B4 (YA-BAD) after a flight from Kabulmarker via Ankara, landed at Atatürk International Airport, overran the runway and came to a halt resting on its right wing. The weather at the time was poor with rain and gusting winds. As of 2007 the aircraft was being dismantled.

Involving aircraft arriving to and departing from the airport


Appeared under the former name of Yeşilköy Airport in the film From Russia with Love.

Destination for the nonstop flight from New York in 1931 by Russell Boardman and John Polando in a modified Bellanca monoplane called the 'Cape Cod', which set a new nonstop distance record. Polando describes the flight in his autobiography Wings Over Istanbul.


External links

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