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Atatürk Airport

Coordinates: 40°58′34″N 028°48′51″E / 40.97611°N 28.81417°E / 40.97611; 28.81417
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Atatürk Airport

Atatürk Havalimanı
Airport typeDefunct
OwnerGeneral Directorate of State Airports (DHMİ)
OperatorTAV Airports
ServesIstanbul, Turkey
LocationYeşilköy, Bakırköy, Istanbul
Opened1953 (1953) (as airport)[1]
Closed5 February 2022 (2022-02-05) (cargo)
Passenger services ceased6 April 2019 (2019-04-06)
Built1912 (1912) (as airfield)
Elevation AMSL163 ft / 50 m
Coordinates40°58′34″N 028°48′51″E / 40.97611°N 28.81417°E / 40.97611; 28.81417
Websiteataturkairport.com (archived on 8 February 2020)
ISL is located in Istanbul
Location within Istanbul
ISL is located in Turkey
ISL (Turkey)
ISL is located in Europe
ISL (Europe)
ISL is located in North Atlantic
ISL (North Atlantic)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 2,580 8,465 Grooved asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Total passengers16,112,804[2]
International passengers11,876,601
Source: Turkish AIP at Eurocontrol Turkey[3]

Atatürk Airport (IATA: ISL, IST, ICAO: LTBA) is an airport currently in use for private jets. It used to be the primary international airport of Istanbul and the hub of Turkish Airlines until it was closed to commercial passenger flights on 6 April 2019. From that point, all passenger flights were transferred to the new Istanbul Airport.[4][5]



Growth and development


In 1911, a small apron with two hangars was built in Yeşilköy, Istanbul, for the Ottoman Armed Forces.[6] Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded Türk Tayyare Cemiyeti (Turkish Aircraft Company, today Türk Hava Kurumu - THK) in 1925. In 1933, today's Turkish Airlines, the Türkiye Devlet Hava Yolları started its flights with two Curtiss Kingbird aircraft. Flights from Istanbul to Ankara and Athens began. The small apron was expanded and a new passenger terminal was built. This is considered the beginning of the airport's 86-year history. It was originally named Yeşilköy Airport. In the 1980s, it was renamed Atatürk International Airport.

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. In 2017, it was Europe's 5th-busiest airport after London–Heathrow, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt Airport, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, having fallen from third place after a decline in passengers due to security fears.[7]



Istanbul Atatürk Airport was replaced in regards to commercial passenger functions by the newly constructed Istanbul Airport, in April 2019, in order to meet Istanbul's growing domestic and international air traffic demand as a source, destination, and transit point. Both airports were used in parallel for five months from late 2018, with the new airport gradually expanding to serve more domestic and regional destinations.[8] On 6 April 2019, Atatürk's IST IATA airport code was inherited by Istanbul Airport and Atatürk Airport was assigned the code ISL after the full transfer of all scheduled passenger activities to the new airport was completed.[9] The final commercial flight, Turkish Airlines Flight 54, left Atatürk Airport on 6 April 2019 at 2:44am for Singapore.[10]

On 5 February 2022, Turkish Cargo relocated all cargo flights and operations from their former hub at the airport to the new Istanbul Airport.[11][12]

Atatürk Airport National Garden


Turkey's government announced its plans to construct a giant park on the grounds of the former Istanbul Atatürk Airport (whose operations are transferred to the new Istanbul Airport) in 2019.[13] The park is part of a larger urban transformation plan that seeks to correct some of the haphazard urban planning that characterised most major Turkish cities since the 1970s.[14] Due to the little space available to construct or expand green spaces, new parks are often constructed on spots formerly occupied by factories or other major facilities.

The Atatürk Airport National Garden will be constructed on and around one of the two runways of Atatürk Airport.[15] These runways were already rendered unusable after they were chosen as the site for Istanbul's pandemic hospital in early 2020.[16] More than 132,500 trees are to be planted in place of the asphalt runway and taxiways that will also help to keep the city cooler.[13] The other runway is set to remain in use for select cargo and private jet flights, aviation fairs (such as Teknofest) and for use by the Turkish Air Force (which still maintains a small training base and museum here).[14]

The leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called the proposed construction of the park ''treason'' and threatened to hold those responsible to account.[17]


The original terminal at Yeşilköy in 1970.
The former main terminal inaugurated in 1983, which then served as the domestic section until 2019.
The now defunct main passenger terminal in 2013.

Former passenger terminals


Istanbul Atatürk Airport featured two passenger terminals linked to each other.[18] The former domestic terminal is the older and smaller of the two terminals and exclusively handled domestic flights within Turkey. It featured its own check-in and airside facilities on the upper floor, with twelve departure gates equipped with jet bridges[18] and five baggage claim belts on the ground level.[18] The former international terminal was inaugurated in 2000 and used for all international flights. It featured a large main hall containing 8 check-in aisles and a wide range of airside facilities such as shops and restaurants, 34 gates equipped with jet bridges, and 7 bus-boarding stands. The arrivals floor had 11 baggage claim belts.[18] In addition, there is a general aviation terminal to the northwest of the passenger terminals.[19]

Former cargo terminal


The airport featured a dedicated cargo terminal including facilities for the handling of radioactive and refrigerated freight.[20]

Other facilities


Current operations


As of April 2019, all passenger operations have been relocated to the new Istanbul Airport. As of February 2022, all cargo operations have been relocated to the new airport as well.[24][citation needed] Currently, the airport serves only private and business jets as well as operations on behalf of the Government of Turkey.[citation needed]



Istanbul Atatürk Airport 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.[25][26] Passenger statistics for Istanbul Atatürk Airport for the years 2002–2019 are below.[27]

Annual passenger traffic at ISL airport. See Wikidata query.
Passenger statistics at Istanbul Atatürk Airport[27]
Year Domestic
% change
% change
% change
World rank
World rank
2019 4,236,203 Decrease 11,876,601 Decrease 16,112,804 Decrease Steady Steady
2018[28] 19,170,141 Decrease2 48,811,305 Increase10 67,981,446 Increase6 10th 17th
2017[29] 19,450,347 Increase2 44,277,101 Increase7 63,727,448 Increase5 11th 15th
2016 19,099,874 Decrease1 41,019,341 Decrease2 60,119,215 Decrease2 11th[30] 14th[31]
2015[32] 19,375,402 Increase4 41,947,327 Increase10 61,322,729 Increase8 10th[33] 11th[34]
2014 18,754,002 Increase9 38,200,788 Increase12 56,954,790[35] Increase11 9th 13th[36]
2013 17,224,105 Increase13 34,096,770 Increase14 51,320,875 Increase14 10th 18th
2012 15,281,321 Increase14 29,717,196 Increase24 44,998,508 Increase20 13th[37] 21st[38]
2011 13,604,352 Increase15 23,847,835 Increase17 37,452,187 Increase17 17th 28th
2010 11,800,999 Increase3 20,344,620 Increase11 32,145,619 Increase8 19th 37th
2009 11,393,645 Decrease1 18,363,739 Increase8 29,757,384 Increase4 Steady Steady
2008 11,484,063 Increase20 17,069,069 Increase26 28,553,132 Increase23 Steady Steady
2007 9,595,923 Increase6 13,600,306 Increase12 23,196,229 Increase9 Steady Steady
2006 9,091,693 Increase21 12,174,281 Increase3 21,265,974 Increase10 Steady Steady
2005 7,512,282 Increase39 11,781,487 Increase16 19,293,769 Increase24 Steady Steady
2004 5,430,925 Increase70 10,169,676 Increase14 15,600,601 Increase29 Steady Steady
2003 3,196,045 Increase12 8,908,268 Increase5 12,104,342 Increase7 Steady Steady
2002 2,851,487 Steady 8,506,204 Steady 11,357,691 Steady Steady Steady
Annual aircraft operations[39]
Year Aircraft operations

Accidents and incidents

  • 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.[40]
  • On 25 April 2015, Turkish Airlines Flight 1878, operated by an 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 second attempt at landing, the right gear collapsed and the aircraft rolled off the runway spinning 180 degrees. All on board evacuated without injury.[41]
  • On 28 June 2016, three terrorists killed 44 civilians by gunfire and subsequent suicide bombings, along with 239 civilians injured.[42][43] The three men arrived in a taxi cab and opened fire at the terminal. The three men then blew themselves up when police opened fire. The airport has X-ray scanners at the entrance to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.[42][44]
  • On 15 July 2016, the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt took place. During the attempted coup, units of the Turkish Armed Forces seized control of the airport and closed it, but it was reopened after pro-government forces regained control.[45][46][47]


  • The Turkish Chamber of Civil Engineers lists İstanbul Atatürk 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.[48]
  • In the 2013 Air Transport News awards ceremony, İstanbul Atatürk Airport was named Airport of the Year.[49]
  • The airport was named Europe's Best Airport in the 40-50 million passenger per year category at the 2013 Skytrax World Airport Awards.[50]

See also



  1. ^ "Atatürk Havalimanı" (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  3. ^ "LTBA – Istanbul / Atatürk / International". AIP Turkey. Ankara: DHMİ Genel Müdürlüğü. 5 January 2018. part AD 2 LTBA. Archived from the original on 11 June 2003. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Turkish Airlines aims to spread its wings at Istanbul's giant new airport". Reuters. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Full transfer of flights from Ataturk to new Istanbul hub begins". Flight Global. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  6. ^ "EUROCONTROL - the European AIS Database: Introduction to EAD Basic - Home". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  7. ^ "'Full' Heathrow Extends European Hub Lead as Terror Hurts Rivals". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  8. ^ Kucukgocmen, Ali (29 October 2018). "Erdogan opens new 'Istanbul Airport', Turkey's biggest". Reuters.
  9. ^ "Istanbul New Airport to affect entire European airspace". Daily Sabah. 19 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Last flight leaves Ataturk as Istanbul switches airports". Reuters. 6 April 2019.
  11. ^ aircargoworld.com - Turkish Cargo completes transition to new Istanbul Airport 8 February 2022
  12. ^ "Turkish Cargo bids farewell to Atatürk Airport, shifts to new hub". Daily Sabah. 8 February 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Ataturk Airport from a Global Airport to a Beach Park | CCT Investments". Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  14. ^ a b SABAH, DAILY (5 June 2020). "10 new parks open as Turkey seeks to make cities greener". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  15. ^ "Discovery Istanbul : The green city". www.petitfute.co.uk. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  16. ^ Oryx. "Atatürk Airport National Garden - The Green Lung Of Istanbul". Oryx. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  17. ^ Sabah, Daily (17 May 2022). "Istanbul's old airport set to get green makeover amid opposition". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  18. ^ a b c d "Terminal Map". Ataturkairport.com. Archived from the original on 23 November 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  19. ^ "General Aviation Terminal". Ataturekairport.com. Archived from the original on 25 July 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Cargo Terminal". Ataturekairport.com. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Contact Us." Turkish Airlines. Retrieved on 26 June 2010.
  22. ^ "Map." Turkish Airlines. Retrieved on 26 June 2010. Archived 11 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Communication".[permanent dead link] Prima Aviation Services Inc. Retrieved 8 June 2014. Map. "Head Office YESILKOY MAH. HAVAALANI CAD. ATATURK HAVALIMANI NO:2/12-1 ZIP: 34149 BAKIRKOY / ISTANBUL"
  24. ^ "Atatürk Havalimanı'nda kargo uçuşları sona erdi. (in Turkish)". Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  25. ^ "ACI Europe 2007 Final Rankings". ACI-Europe.org. Retrieved 30 September 2017.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "International Passenger Traffic Monthly Ranking: Aug 2008". Airports Council International. 12 November 2008. Archived from the original on 1 January 2009.
  27. ^ a b "Devlet Hava Meydanları İşletmesi Genel Müdürlüğü". Dhmi.gov.tr. Archived from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  28. ^ "December". DHMI. January 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  29. ^ "YOLCU TRAFİĞİ". 6 January 2018. Archived from the original on 6 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  30. ^ "ACI releases preliminary 2016 world airport traffic rankings—Robust gains in passenger traffic at hub airports serving trans-Pacific and East Asian routes". Airports Council International. 19 April 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  31. ^ "2016 Annual Airport Traffic Report" (PDF). Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. 28 April 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  32. ^ DHMİ Genel Müdürlüğü. "Devlet Hava Meydanları İşletmesi Genel Müdürlüğü". Dhmi.gov.tr. Archived from the original on 28 June 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  33. ^ "Year to date International Passenger Traffic: DEC 2015". Airports Council International. 11 April 2016. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  34. ^ "Year to date Passenger Traffic". Airports Council International. Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
    "Year to date Passenger Traffic: DEC 2017". Airports Council International. 30 April 2018. Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  35. ^ "Year to 2014 dec. passenger". Dhmi.gov.tr. 21 December 2014. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  36. ^ "Year to date Passenger Traffic". Airports Council International. Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
    "Year to date Passenger Traffic: DEC 2017". Airports Council International. 30 April 2018. Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  37. ^ "Year to date". Airports Council International. 24 April 2013. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
    "Year to date International Passenger Traffic:DEC 2015". Airports Council International. 11 April 2016. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  38. ^ "Year to date". Airports Council International. 24 April 2013. Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
    "Year to date Passenger Traffic: DEC 2017". Airports Council International. 30 April 2018. Archived from the original on 13 August 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  39. ^ "Air Traffic Report". Turkish Airport Authority.
  40. ^ "Aircraft accident Fokker F-28 Fellowship 1000 TC-JAP Istanbul-Yeşilköy Airport (IST) [Marmara Sea]". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  41. ^ Hradecky, Simon. "Accident: THY A320 at Istanbul on Apr 25th 2015, hard landing, go-around, engine problem, gear problem, gear collapse, runway excursion". Aviation Herald. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  42. ^ a b "Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: 41 dead and more than 230 hurt - BBC News". BBC News. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  43. ^ Sabrina Tavernise; Ceylan Yeginsu (28 June 2016). "Attack at Istanbul Airport Leaves at Least 31 Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  44. ^ "Blast and gunfire 'at Istanbul airport'". BBC News. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  45. ^ "Turkey coup: How mobiles beat tanks and saved Erdogan". BBC News. 18 July 2016.
  46. ^ Coskun, Humeyra Pamuk (18 July 2016). "At height of Turkish coup bid, rebel jets had Erdogan's plane in their sights". Reuters.
  47. ^ "TRT'de bildiri okuttular". 16 July 2016.
  48. ^ "50 yılda 50 eser - HHPortal". Hhportal.com. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  49. ^ "Air Transport News". Atn.aero. 18 March 2013. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  50. ^ "World's Best Airports by Passenger Numbers | 2013". Worldairportawards.com. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.

Media related to Istanbul Atatürk Airport at Wikimedia Commons