Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IATA: IST, ICAO: LTBA) (Turkish: İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı) is the main international airport serving Istanbul, and the biggest airport in Turkey by total number of passengers, destinations served and aircraft movements. Opened in 1924 in Yeşilköy, on the European side of the city, it is located 24 km (15 mi) west of the city centre and serves as the main hub for Turkish Airlines. The city's other, smaller, international airport is Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. As of February 2017, 273 destinations are served from Istanbul-Atatürk, making it the airport with the second-most destinations worldwide after Frankfurt Airport.
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. As of 2017, it is Europe's 5th busiest airport after London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, having fallen from 3rd place after a decline in passengers due to security fears.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport features two main passenger terminals which are interconnected to each other:
Terminal 1 is the older and smaller of the two terminals and exclusively handles domestic flights within Turkey. Until the opening of Terminal 2, it used to be the airport's international terminal. Terminal 1 features its own check-in and airside facilities on the upper floor that lead to twelve departure gates (101-112) which are equipped with jet bridges. On the ground level there are five baggage reclaim belts as well as a curbside independent from Terminal 2.
Terminal 2 was inaugurated in 2000 and is used for all international flights. It features a large main hall containing eight check-in isles and a wide range of airside facilities such as shops and restaurants. The departures area consists of 27 gates (201-226) which are all equipped with jetbridges as well as several bus-boarding stands. The arrivals floor below is equipped with 11 baggage reclaim belts. Terminal 2 is able to handle widebody aircraft such as Turkish Airlines' Boeing 777-300ERs.
There is also an additional terminal for general aviation to the northwest of the main areas as well as a dedicated cargo terminal including sections for radioactive and refrigerated freight.
The airport terminals have been operated by TAV Airports since January 2000. TAV has already invested US$600 million since 1998. In 2005 TAV won the concession agreement to operate Atatürk for 15.5 years at an amount of $4 billion. TAV 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 three 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 jetways will be left to the domestics terminal which are on the west of the international terminal, connected to it.
A third big airport for the city under the project name Istanbul New Airport is currently under construction in order to meet Istanbul's growing domestic and international air traffic demand as a source, destination and transit point. A site in the European part on the coast of the Black Sea has been chosen and construction started in May 2015. Once the new airport is finished, Atatürk will not be fully closed.
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Istanbul Atatürk Airport:
Istanbul Atatürk Airport shares traffic with Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, which is on the Anatolian (Asian) side of Istanbul, which had annual passenger traffic of 11.1 million in 2010 rising to 28m in 2015.
Below is the passenger data and development for Istanbul Atatürk Airport (only) for the years 2002–2016:
IST 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.
According to data from FlightStats in 2012, the Atatürk Airport had the most flight delays in Europe, and was ranked second in flight cancellations.Turkish Airlines has its headquarters in the Turkish Airlines General Management Building, located within the airport campus.
Onur Air has its headquarters in Technical Hangar B.
Prima Aviation Services Inc. has its MRO Facilities in new technical site at the air side Gate A.
There are several ways to travel between Atatürk International Airport and the city center.
Subway Service: Metro service on the Istanbul Metro line M1A exists between Yenikapı and Atatürk International Airport. The line goes through some major parts of the European side of the city, including the intercity bus terminal.
The shuttle services are operated by Havataş, which is one of the major ground handling companies within Turkey. The buses run half-hourly to Bakırköy, Yenikapı, Aksaray, Taksim Square. Municipality buses also run to Taksim, Etiler and Kozyatağı.
The airport is accessible through the coastal road, D-100 international road and TEM (Trans-European Motorway).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.
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 2nd attempt at landing, the right gear collapsed and the aircraft rolled off the runway spinning 180 degrees. All on board evacuated without injury.
On 28 June 2016, three terrorists killed 44 civilians by gunfire and subsequent suicide bombings, along with 239 civilians injured. The three men arrived in a taxi cab, and began opening fire at a terminal. The three men blew themselves up when police began opening fire. The airport has X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.
The Turkish Chamber of Civil Engineers lists Atatürk International 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.
In the 2013 Air Transport News awards ceremony, İstanbul Atatürk Airport was named Airport of the Year.
Also, the airport has been named Europe's Best Airport in the 40-50 million passenger per year category at the 2013 Skytrax World Airport Awards.