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How to get from Istanbul Airport to the city centre?

Major changes have been made throughout the years if it comes to means of transport in Turkey. In 2018, on the European side of Istanbul, the new airport has been opened, and in April 2019, has become the main international airport operating in Istanbul. All flights from Istanbul Atatürk Airport were transferred to the new biggest airport, which served more than 52 million passengers in the year 2019. 

the airport
There are several ways to get from Istanbul Airport to the city centre.

Details on Istanbul New Airport

The project was developed as an alternative to the old Ataturk Airport, due to the heavy air-traffic, increasing passengers flow, and the fact that additional buildings cannot be placed in a densely built-up area of the old airport. Engineers had to push themselves to think of a new solution, and so in that case, build the new Istanbul Airport.

Istanbul New Airport, abbreviated as IGA (an international name for the new building) is located in the empty area of ​​the suburb of Arnavutköy. There are no settlements or attractions nearby.

The construction began in 2015, but full completion is planned for 2028. IGA started on 29th of October 2018 (95th anniversary of the Turkish republic), but major airlines such as Turkish Airlines were completely transferred on 6th of April 2019. Currently, the airport can handle 90 million passengers a year. On June 14, 2020, a third runway was opened, which allows operating parallel flights to two existing independent runways. In the future, development plans predict construction of 3 more runways, with the anticipated number of passengers increase up to 200 million per year.

Short description

The first terminal was completed last summer, and the final project will have a futuristic look with elements from Turkish patterns and ornaments. The state-of-the-art materials used in the construction of IGA add sparkle and glow to uninhabited areas. 

A large number of visible signs help to move around at the airport. In all zones, people in purple T-shirts work round-the-clock and are in any assistance. In all halls, there are monitors with departure and arrival flights. There are 7 departure gates:  2 domestic, 4 international and 1 private, which helps to handle a large number of tourists. At the arrival gate, there are 2 separate gates for domestic and international flights to prevent long queues. In the airport, there a numerous ATM's, banks, shops, food and beverages and even Nap-Zones ( 1 for domestic, and 4 for international). You can traditionally check-in at the counter, using a valid passport or ID, or use self-check-in at the check-in points (after scanning your passport, the boarding pass is printed). All these new technologies are easy in use, and make your trip more comfortable.

New airport data
Istanbul Airport is the biggest airport in Turkey.

The main signs that passengers will see:

  • Passport Control 
  • Domestic Flights
  • International Flights

Benefits of the renovated airport

Features of the new airport:

  1. Many visible and accessible Exchange Offices.
  2. Free Wi-Fi in all rooms. It is called: "IGA guest", for registration you need to enter a phone number.
  3. Simple and convenient navigation inside the building, a large number of friendly staff, information desks with interactive terminal maps. 
  4. There are no queues, crowds etc. passengers are dispersed inside the premises.
  5. Operating escalators and elevators.
  6. Plenty conveniences like Luggage wrap points, Buggy points, SLEEPOD, Fast Track etc.

Location on the map

IGA address: İmrahor Mahallesi, Ulubatlı Hasan Cd. No: 255, 34283 Arnavutköy / İstanbul, Turkey. The airport is located on the Black Sea coast (about 45 km to Sultanahmet Square).

Location on the map
The airport is located in the European part of the city.

Priority Pass

From October 2019, 1 IGA Lounge has become opened for Priority Pass holders. The card provides access to the business lounge. There are three types of membership available, from which you can chose one which suits your needs. STANDARD membership costs 89 EUR for an annual fee. STANDARD PLUS for 259 EUR, and 399 EUR for PRESTIGE. Priority Pass gives you the access to more than 1300 business lounges all over the world.

How to get to the city centre?

Means of transport:

  • buses;
  • car rental;
  • metro;
  • taxi;
  • airport transfer;

Public transportation

New comfortable buses of transportation lines HAVAIST or IETT operate Istanbul Airport. You can check the time and bus routes on provided timetables, as well as, a schedule online. HAVAIST operates 7/24, and has a fleet of 150 buses, reaching 20 different destinations. HAVAIST has a handy phone application, that you can download for android or IOS system. The app includes all the information about schedule etc. Departure and arrival time and place can be also checked on other airport bus transportation - IETT official webpage. 

Regular buses

The city centre can be reached by bus.

Car rental at the airport

Renting a car is a convenient and comfortable option, for those who don't like wasting time, or waiting for public transport, and want to be more mobile and independent. There are many car rental companies operating Istanbul Airport. You can easily check online their car selection, prices, discount and terms&conditions. Making an online reservation is simple and quick. 

If you are an experienced driver, renting a car will be the most suitable option for you.

The company will pick up the car directly from the airport parking after the expiration of the contract, or from the location, you chose while making a reservation.

Therefore, it is recommended to book a car in advance through official webpages. In this case, you will be given a choice from a variety of cars, and it will arrive exactly on time. 

Istanbul Kart

Istanbul Kart is a contactless, smart card to pay for public transportation fares. The card can be purchased at all yellow vending machines called "Biletmatiks", or some kiosks nearby metro stations or main bus stations. The card will not cost more than 10TL. After the purchase, you can instantly add credit to your card. Card can be used in all types of public transport: bus, metrobus, trams, ferry etc. HAVAIST from Istanbul Airport, and HAVABUS from Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

Istanbul kart
IstanbulKart is a quick and easy payment method.

Up to 5 passengers can travel on one IstanbulKart. However, the discount price works only for 1 person. Payment must be made directly after boarding. The travel card must be attached to the validator. (this is compulsory only on embarking). 

IstanbulKart is used to pay for any type of public transport. It is a comfortable and easy fare payment method. 

Tokens (JETONS)

Tokens can be bought at "Jetonmatiks", or metro kiosks, bus stops etc. Tokens can be used for all means of transport, except buses. Tokens are used for single-fare trips. Tokens are sold in 2 colours: red and blue. Blue tokens are used for the ferry. 

Taxi from Istanbul Airport

Taxi drivers are waiting for their customers right at the exit from the airport. Remember to ask about the approximate price, payment can be made only by cash. The best currency to pay is Turkish lira. 

The comfort level is determined by the colour of the cab:

  • Black is premium;
  • Yellow is economy.
Taxi from the airport
Taxis are waiting for customers at the exit from the airport.

Group transfer

One of the most reliable options is a group transfer - an airport shuttle. The driver will be waiting for you with a sign (it says the name of the hotel, the company organizing the transportation, or your name). When choosing to pay for transfer via the internet, a discount and a fixed price will be provided (regardless of the currency). But you have to wait until boarding for all passengers is complete. 

The service works around the clock, so if your flight is delayed, the driver will be waiting for you, or you can get on another bus from the same company, waiting for passengers from another flight. The drivers communicate with each other, so there are no cases, that you will be left with no transfer. 

It is beneficial for a tourist to use a group transfer, because this is a safe and cheap option.

Distance to the city and duration of the trip

The distance from IGA to the city is about 50 km, and the time from the airport to the destination place may vary in time, depending on the type of transport, condition on the roads, and time of the day.


What transport is better to use?

The choice of transport depends on the destination place:

  1. Long way. When there is a long distance to the destination place, the bus is the most convenient option. The variety of available routes allows you to get to different parts of the city. Fares will vary. The bus schedule is posted at the airport, this will allow you to immediately find your way.
  2. Tourist trip. A group transfer will take you to the building or hotel chosen while booking. Air-conditioned interiors with comfy seats, will make your journey pleasant. It is also possible to book a child seat for an extra fee.

High-speed train and metro line

The metro line from Gayrettepe Airport - Istanbul M11 is planned to be completed by the end of 2020 - early 2021. Its main function will be to transport passengers to the business district of Levent. The stations with being located at the distance. Stops in the urban area - Gayrettepe and Kağıthane. Metro line will stretch 37.2 km, and the journey will take only 30 minutes.

The construction of the northern Marmara Highway will provide a rail link (HST-High Speed ​​Train) between the European and Asian parts of Istanbul. IGA is 1 of 6 stations on this line. The high-speed train will pass through the Sultan Selim Yavuz bridge.

More information will be provided after the construction will be completed.