Sabiha Gökçen International Airport

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Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen
International Airport

İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen
Uluslararası Havalimanı
Sabiha Gökçen International Airport logo.svg
Airport Sahiba Gökcen from Air.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner HEAŞ (Airport Management & Aeronautical Industries Inc)
Operator Malaysia Airports
Serves Istanbul, Turkey
Location Pendik
Hub for
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Elevation AMSL 312 ft / 95 m
Coordinates 40°53′54″N 29°18′33″E / 40.89833°N 29.30917°E / 40.89833; 29.30917Coordinates: 40°53′54″N 29°18′33″E / 40.89833°N 29.30917°E / 40.89833; 29.30917
SAW is located in Marmara
Location of airport in Northwest Turkey
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 3,000 9,842 Concrete
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 29,577,735
Passenger change 15–16 Increase5%
Aircraft movements 206,180
Movements change 14–15 Increase19.3%
Source: Turkish AIP at EUROCONTROL[1]
Passenger Traffic, ACI Europe[2]

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (IATA: SAWICAO: LTFJ) is one of the two international airports serving Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, the other being Atatürk Airport. Located 35 km (22 mi) southeast[1] of central Istanbul, Sabiha Gökçen is on the Asian side of the bi-continental city and serves as the hub for Pegasus Airlines as well as a base for Turkish Airlines and Borajet. The facility is named after Sabiha Gökçen, the first female combat pilot in Turkey and adoptive daughter of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding President of the Republic of Turkey.


The airport was built because Atatürk International Airport (located on the European side) was not large enough to meet the booming passenger demands (both domestic and international). In June 2007, Turkish conglomerate Limak Holding, India's GMR Group and Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad (MAHB) consortium gained the contract for upgrading and maintaining the airport. In mid-2008, ground was broken to upgrade the international terminal to handle 25 million passengers annually. The new terminal was inaugurated on 31 October 2009.

SAW's international terminal capacity originally was 3 million passengers per year and the domestic terminal capacity was 0.5 million passengers per year. In 2010, Sabiha Gökçen airport handled 11,129,472 passengers, a 71% increase compared to 2009.[3] The airport was planning (in 2011) to host 25 million passengers by 2023,[4][5] but handled more than 28 million passengers in 2015 already.

In September 2010, the airport was voted the World's Best Airport at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London and received the award.[6] The other awards received by the airport in 2010 were: Turkey’s Most Successful Tourism Investment 2010, the highly commended award from Routes Europe and the airport is honored with Airport Traffic Growth Award by Airline News & Network Analysis web site[7]

With 28,285,578 passengers and 206,180 aircraft movements in 2015, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is the second busiest single-runway airport in the world (London Gatwick has two runways but can only work as a single-runway airport).[8]

A second runway is currently built and expected to be operational in 2019.[9]


The new terminal building of 25 million annual passenger capacity conducts domestic and international flights under one roof.

The features of and the services at the new terminal of the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport and its outlying buildings include:

  • a four-storey car park with a capacity of about 4,718 vehicles + 72 bus (3.836 indoors and 882 + 72 bus outdoors).
  • a four-storey hotel with 128 rooms, adjacent to the terminal and with separate entrances at air and ground sides.
  • 112 check-in, 24 online check-in counters
  • a VIP building & apron viewing CIP halls with business lounges
  • Multi Aircraft Ramp System (MARS), allowing simultaneous service to 8 aircraft with large fuselages (IATA code E) or 16 middle-sized fuselage aircraft (IATA code C).
  • a 400 m² conference center
  • 5,000 m² food court, for cafés and restaurants belonging the leading food & beverage brands
  • a duty-free shopping area, with a ground of 4,500 square-meters; with shops at international standards.

The airport's cargo terminal has a capacity of 90,000 tons per year and is equipped with 18 cold storage depots.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Sabiha Gökçen International Airport:[10]

Airlines Destinations
Air Algérie Oran
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air Arabia Jordan Amman
Air Arabia Maroc Casablanca
Air Manas Bishkek
AtlasGlobal Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Izmir, Jeddah
Azerbaijan Airlines Baku
Buta Airways Baku (begins 29 October 2017)[11]
operated by Germanwings
Seasonal: Berlin–Tegel, Cologne/Bonn, Hamburg, Stuttgart
FlyBaghdad Baghdad, Najaf
flydubai Dubai–International
Flynas Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh
Jordan Aviation Charter: Amman–Civil
Nile Air Cairo
Pegasus Airlines Abu Dhabi,[12] Adana, Almaty, Amasya/Merzifon, Amsterdam, Ankara, Antalya, Athens, Baghdad, Bahrain, Balıkesir/Edremit, Barcelona, Basel/Mulhouse, Batman, Beirut, Belgrade, Bergamo, Berlin–Schönefeld, Bishkek, Bodrum, Bologna, Bucharest, Budapest, Charleroi, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Dalaman, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Doha, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Elazığ, Erbil, Erzincan, Erzurum, Frankfurt, Gaziantep, Gazipaşa, Geneva, Grozny, Hamburg, Hatay, Hurghada, Izmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kastamonu, Kars, Kayseri, Kharkiv, Konya, Krasnodar, Kuwait, London–Stansted, Lviv, Lyon, Madrid, Malatya, Mardin, Marseille, Milan–Malpensa, Mineralnye Vody, Moscow–Domodedovo, Munich, Münster/Osnabrück, Muş, Nevşehir, Nice, Nicosia–Ercan, Nizhniy Novgorod,[12] Nuremberg, Oslo–Gardermoen, Ordu–Giresun, Paris–Orly, Prague, Pristina, Rome–Fiumicino, Saint-Étienne, Samara,[12] Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Sarajevo, Sharm el-Sheikh, Sivas, Skopje, Stockholm–Arlanda, Stuttgart, Sulaymaniyah, Tbilisi, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Tirana, Trabzon, Van, Volgograd,[12] Vienna, Zaporizhia, Zürich
Qatar Airways Doha
SunExpress Antalya, Izmir
Turkish Airlines Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Ankara, Antalya, Baghdad, Barcelona, Basra, Berlin–Tegel, Bodrum, Brussels, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Dalaman, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Izmir, Jeddah, Kuwait, London–Gatwick, Milan–Malpensa, Munich, Nicosia–Ercan, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Riyadh, Rome–Fiumicino, Stockholm–Arlanda, Stuttgart, Tbilisi, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Vienna
Seasonal: Erbil
Turkish Airlines
operated by AnadoluJet
Adana, Ankara, Bodrum, Dalaman, Diyarbakır, Edremit, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kars, Kayseri, Mardin, Nevşehir, Ordu–Giresun, Samsun, Sivas, Trabzon, Van
Wings of Lebanon Charter: Beirut


Airlines Destinations
ASL Airlines Belgium Liege
Buraq Air Misrata
Cargolux Amman–Queen Alia, Luxembourg
CAVOK Air Lviv
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Addis Ababa, Liege
MNG Airlines Leipzig, Barcelona, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Doha
MyCargo Airlines Baku, Beirut, Frankfurt, Liege
Silk Road Cargo Tashkent
Silk Way Airlines Baku
Ukraine Air Alliance Lviv, Kiev
ULS Airlines Cargo Beirut, Misrata, Tallinn, Tripoli


Traffic figures[edit]

Terminal building
Check-in area
Apron view
İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport passenger traffic statistics[13]
Year Domestic  % change International  % change Total  % change
2016 20,131,365 Increase 9% 9,446,370 Decrease 1% 29,577,735 Increase 5%
2015 18,535,463 Increase 24% 9,576,975 Increase 12% 28,108,738 Increase 20%
2014 15,008,600 Increase 26% 8,499,541 Increase 29% 23,508,141 Increase 27%
2013 11,947,424 Increase 23% 6,694,418 Increase 35% 18,641,842 Increase 27%
2012 9,486,469 Increase 9% 5,000,773 Increase 13% 14,487,242 Increase 10%
2011 8,704,249 Increase 16% 4,420,421 Increase 20% 13,124,670 Increase 17%
2010 7,435,158 Increase 65% 3,694,314 Increase 84% 11,129,472 Increase 71%
2009 4,547,673 Increase 63% 2,092,285 Increase 33% 6,639,958 Increase 52%
2008 2,764,856 Increase 9% 1,516,337 Increase 27% 4,281,193 Increase 15%
2007 2,528,549 Increase 17% 1,191,946 Increase 56% 3,720,495 Increase 28%
2006 2,153,561 Increase 285% 762,893 Increase 66% 2,916,454 Increase 186%
2005 559,824 Increase 5,323% 459,922 Increase 96% 1,019,746 Increase 315%
2004 10,323 Increase 265% 235,278 Increase 52% 245,601 Increase 56%
2003 2,826 154,346 157,172

Passenger development[edit]

Sabiha Gökçen passenger totals, 2005–2016 (millions)

Ground transport[edit]

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is connected to the city of Istanbul and that city's wider metropolitan area through a number of transport corridors.


The airport is located 14 km from the town of Pendik's railway and sea-taxi stations but a connection via Marmaray is planned.


The M4 metro line is being extended towards the airport. The current terminus at Tavşantepe is about 10 km from the airport and reachable by taxi or bus E9

Shuttlebuses and coaches[edit]

Shuttlebuses E10 and E11 serve Taksim and Kadikoy and there are coaches to nearby towns and cities.

Car and taxi[edit]

The main airport complex is reachable by car from the E80 (Trans-European Motorway) which passes through the Istanbul Metropolitan Area.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 23 December 2015 at approximately 2:00 AM, explosions were reported to have occurred in a parked Pegasus Airlines aircraft, killing one cleaner and wounding another inside the plane. Five nearby planes were reported to be damaged as well. The operations were reported to continue normally soon after, however with heightened security measured in place.[14] Three days later, it was reported that "PKK-affiliated terrorist group". Kurdistan Freedom Falcons had organized the attack.[15]


  1. ^ a b EAD Basic. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  2. ^ "ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report. December, Q4 and Full Year 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  3. ^ 2010 airport statistics. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  4. ^ İstanbul's 2nd Airport To Reach 25 Million Passengers By 2023. (2011-05-24). Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  5. ^ Sabiha Gökçen'de rekor yolcu sayısı. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  6. ^ Sabiha Gökçen dünyanın en iyi havalimanı seçildi – Hürriyet Ekonomi. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  7. ^ "EURO ANNIES 2011: Airport Awards". Airline Network News & Analysis. Retrieved 19 May 2011.  In December 2013, MAHB acquired GMR's 40 percent stake in a deal worthed 225 million euros.
  8. ^ World`s busiest single-runway commercial airports. Retrieved on 2016-11-13.
  9. ^ World`s busiest single-runway commercial airports. Retrieved on 2016-11-13.
  10. ^ - Flight Destinations retrieved 3 August 2016
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c d "Pegasus adds new international routes from June 2017". routesonline. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  13. ^ DHMİ Genel Müdürlüğü. "Devlet Hava Meydanları İşletmesi Genel Müdürlüğü". Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Daren Butler (23 December 2015). "Suspected bomb kills one at Istanbul airport, investigation launched". Reuters UK. 
  15. ^ "PKK-affiliated terrorist group claims responsibility for Istanbul airport attack". DailySabah. 26 December 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport at Wikimedia Commons