Turkish Airlines moving to new Istanbul Airport – All the Details


In just a few days Turkish Airlines will conduct one of the biggest moving operation in global aviation history.

The flag carrier of Turkey will move to the new Istanbul Airport beginning of April 5 at 03:00 AM. As the greatest airport project of the world, the first stage of the move towards Istanbul Airport was back on October 29th, 2018.

Unique in the global aviation history, the moving operation will take 45 hours in total and it will be concluded on April 6 Saturday night at 23:59. In order to conclude the Great Move successfully according to prior plans, Atatürk Airport and Istanbul Airport will be closed for all scheduled passenger flights between 02:00 and 14:00 of April 6.

Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board stated about this enormous operation: “The biggest move of the aviation history will take place. The combined size of the equipment we are going to transfer would cover 33 football pitches. After this great move, which will be watched by the entire world, we will wake up to a new morning. It will be a morning, which the sun shining on Turkish Aviation with the flights operated at Istanbul Airport. I convey my hopes that it will bring a great fortune to both our country and company.”

The farewell flight from Atatürk Airport is determined as well

The last flight carrying passengers from Ataturk Airport will be the Atatürk Airport – Singapore flight. After the move, operations will start in Istanbul Airport on April 6 at 14:00. The first flight after the Great Move will be the Istanbul Airport – Ankara Esenboga Airport flight. The number of flights from Istanbul Airport will be increased in stages according to a set plan.

Freight worth of 5 thousand trucking rigs will be moved

During the Great Move, equipment weighing approximately 47,300 tons will be carried to Istanbul Airport from Atatürk Airport. From aircraft towing apparatus weighing 44 tons to extremely sensitive materials, over 10 thousand pieces of equipment are equal to freight of 5 thousand trucking rigs. The distance covered by the trucking rigs carrying this load during 45 hours is calculated to be at 400 thousand kilometers. This is equal to circling Earth 10 times. Over 1800 personnel will be working during this great operation.

Airport Codes Are Changing

Following the first stage, the additional passenger flights of Turkish Airlines operated via Istanbul Airport were listed with ISL code. After the great move, IATA codes will change and after April 6 at 03:00, Atatürk Airport’s IST code will be given to Istanbul Airport. Atatürk Airport, which will be hosting cargo and VIP passenger flights, will use ISL code.

About the new Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport is located on the European side, outside of Istanbul.
The airport has been planned as the largest in the world with a 150 million annual passenger capacity in its last planned expansion stage, while remaining upgradable to handle 200 million annual passengers if required in the future. It is the third international airport in Istanbul after Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen, and is planned to become the main international airport serving Istanbul.

Istanbul Airport Tower

The newly constructed airport was needed because Atatürk Airport, Istanbul’s current main airport, is surrounded by urban Istanbul. Additionally, there is an increasing problem of air traffic congestion. Atatürk Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe. Since 2013, it has ranked among the five busiest airports in Europe by passenger traffic.
There is no space to build an additional runway at Atatürk Airport, as the airport is surrounded on all sides due to the growth of the city. Because of the limited capacity, the Turkish Airport Authority does not allow additional cargo or charter flights to the airport. Due to a lack of slot capacity and parking spaces, some of Turkish Airlines’ aircraft are based in Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Sabiha Gökçen Airport itself is already at maximum terminal capacity of 25 million passengers, and handled 28 million passengers in 2015 after posting traffic growth rates averaging over 20% a year since 2013.
In 2017, the two Istanbul airports handled more than 100 million passengers.


While already in full operation, new Istanbul Airport will remain in construction at least until 2025. Once fully completed the airport will have 6 runways, 16 taxiways. The new airport terminals will have a total of 1,500,000 m2 (16,000,000 sq ft) of indoor area, 165 aircraft jet bridges, 4 terminal buildings with interconnecting rail access, 3 technical blocks, 1 air traffic control tower, and 8 ramp control towers. The airport will also have a 6,500,000 m2 (70,000,000 sq ft) apron with 500 aircraft parking capacity, VIP Lounges, cargo and general aviation terminals, a state palace, indoor and outdoor parking with a capacity of approx. 70,000 cars. A medical center, Aircraft rescue and firefighting stations, garage buildings, hotels and convention centers, power plants, water treatment and waste facilities will also be built.

Source: Turkish Airlines / Istanbul Airport