Istanbul New Airport IST Guide

Newly opened in 2019, 40 km from Istanbul’s city center, let us guide you through New IST Airports abundance of shopping, restaurants, and things to do. There are many transportation options available too with private shuttles, taxis and the Havaist shuttle bus being the most popular.

The New Airport also have a decent mobile app that allows you to freely connect to WiFi, as well as track flights and expected transit times to your gate. You can also sleep directly in the airport on layover at the Yotel or in a sleeping pod.

We’ve further added some statistical info to our guide for those wanting to know the airport capacity, usable space, awards, etc.

Airport Codes

IST is the designated airport code (IATA) for the Istanbul New Airport or Istanbul Havalimani in Turkish. You might, however, wonder why the airport logo sometimes shows up as the letters IGA rather than IST. This is due to the operator adding confusion by naming themselves Istanbul Grand Airport and that’s the short-form of their name.

When looking for flights always looking under Istanbul New Airport (IST) rather than the airport operator’s name and designation.


Istanbul New Airport is located roughly 40 km northeast of the city center on the European side in Arnavutkoy. On a map, you’ll find it just off the Kuzey Marmara Otoyolu (Northern Marmara Highway), a little southeast of Terkos Lake and just below the Black Sea. While this might seem out of the way, the location actually avoids most of the heavy traffic in Istanbul.


The distance between the airport and Levent is 36 km, while Taksim and Sultanhamet are 40 km away. On the Asian side, Uskudar is 47 km away, while Kadikoy is 52 km. There is a direct route from the airport over the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge to North Marmara Highway, that connects Europe to Asia.


Airport passengers have several transportation companies to choose from which include shuttles from Havaist, IETT, and Istanbul Travel. In total 12 different bus lines can connect and 44 stops connect you to the airport to and from Istanbul.


A private company, but the most well known, Havaist provides 24/7 services with shuttles that leave every 15 – 40 minutes. Their fees vary according to the start point and the number of bus stops.


This is the designation for public transportation in Istanbul. The main bus starting points in Istanbul are Mahmutbey, Halkali, Ataturk, Mescid-i Selam, Mecidiyekoy, Alibeykoy. If you use their services, there is the Istanbulkart fee to pay together with the ticket.

From outside Istanbul, there is the Istanbul Seyahat service that connects you with IST Airport from Corlu and Tekirdag.

Taxi Services

When it comes to taxis, you will find them on a 24/7 basis, happily waiting in the queue right outside of the arrivals exit. They provide three different types of services, and differentiated by car colors:

  • Orange (C) for individuals
  • Blue (D) for small groups
  • Black (E) for large groups

Just be aware of taxi scams are there few of notes in Istanbul. Generally, these don’t apply to those found at the airport taxi stand, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.


The new airport has a big shopping area where you can satisfy all your traveling needs. You will find high-quality products from fashion to accessories, jewelry, watches, and more. There are also many pharmacies, book stores, and convenience stores spread throughout the airport.


The duty-free area is organized by Unifree Duty-Free, having a 30-year of experience, and occupies 55 thousand square meters. The classic duty-free shops are spread on 34,000 square meters. You have all sorts of top brands and high-quality products. Everything you might ask for.

The Bazaar covering 3000 square meters could not be absent from the new airport. Here you will find and bargain for all types of local, traditional products.

Don’t worry about the huge area. You won’t get lost because the duty-free space is organized around 9 areas of interest: fashion, family, beach, etc. Everywhere you’ll encounter the same latest technology.

They provide a 3D hologram system where you can see the products in detail, in a personalized manner, without actually testing them. Sale consultants are ready to help you at any time. There are also facilities for disabled people that use mobility equipment.

Food and Drink

The airport offers a wide range of cuisine and food concept options. There are the ever-present fast-foods, alongside traditional restaurants. There are also numerous bars and coffee locations.


There is the Yotel Airport Hotel which is among the biggest in the world, and the largest in Europe. It provides 451 cabins, some of them (277) are on the land part, the others (174) are near the sea.

International passengers in transit do not need to enter the country and have the option of staying at Yotelair.

Sleeping Pods

The Istanbul International Airport takes care of its passengers that take into account sleeping in the airport on chairs, or even on the floor. They provide a higher level of comfort. If on a layover, you have two transit hotels that provide short-term and overnight rate variants. There are also sleeping-pods, for single travelers. Regarding the airport hotel shuttle services, you should check their offers for each specific time and place.

Other Facilities

Istanbul’s new airport is comparable to an entertainment park with a large number of venues and high-end services. It’s full of high-tech facilities that focus on fast, comfortable, and environment-friendly boarding and check-in.

Children’s Area

The little ones are well taken care of. They have a playground next to the international departures.


Despite the enormous number of passengers they expect to come in and out of IST airport, once construction is fully complete they will have enough parking to match. Currently, though, they’re well short of the 40,000 spaces they claim to have (one day), but there’s more than enough to go around. You can also get additional services like car washes and tire changes.

Mobile App

There is a downloadable app for all airport related information such as live flight tracking, gate transit times, and includes a virtual map of the airport. The app lets you know when to leave for the airport, and how long you have to wait until the flight leaves. You can log in to the Free Airport WiFi to get some general information about local events.

The Istanbul Airport mobile app is available for download for IOS on the App Store, and Android on GooglePlay.

Statistical Info

If you’re curious to know a little more about the Istanbul New Airport, here is some data about this quite impressive airport.


The new International Airport in Istanbul opened its gates on October 29, 2018, billing itself as the world’s largest airport, which unfortunately is not true on many fronts. It did reach the maximum capacity of Phase I on April 6, 2019, though, and as you can see below, this number is quite impressive.


Capacity is also the source for its claim of being the biggest airport in the world. Technically, this is not yet true, as it can handle 90 million passengers per year, while Atlanta is tops at 107 million.

The airport, however, is still under development with plans to expand the annual capacity to roughly 200 million passengers by 2025. This would almost double Atlanta’s current numbers.

Turkish Airlines Hub

IST Airport is the new worldwide hub for Turkish Airlines, so you’ll find connections between almost all the countries of the world, as well as destinations within Turkey. There are 45 domestic routes, to and from several cities. Whereas, internationally, the airport ensures connections with 249 cities, out of 110 countries.

Usable Space

The airport covers an area of no less than 76.5 million square meters or 7,650 hectares of usable space. While it can’t compare with Denver International’s 13,570 hectares, it would place IST above Dallas/FortWorth International and its 6,963 hectares.


The airport received a prestigious Global Traveller’s Leisure Lifestyle Award. It was a Special Achievement Award for outstanding innovation, one of the most important aspects of sustainable tourism.