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Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (IATA: SAW, ICAO: LTFJ) (Turkish: İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Uluslararası Havalimanı) is one of two international airports serving Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey. Located 32 km (20 mi) southeast[1] of the city center, Sabiha Gökçen Airport is in the Asian part of the bi-continental Istanbul and serves as the hub for some airlines, including Pegasus Airlines as well as a secondary base for Turkish Airlines and Borajet (currently suspended). The facility is named after Sabiha Gökçen, adoptive daughter of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the first female fighter pilot in the world.[3] Although Istanbul Airport, located 63 km (39 mi) away on the European side of Istanbul, is larger, Sabiha Gökçen is still one of the largest airports in the country.

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport

İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Uluslararası Havalimanı
Sabiha Gökçen International Airport logo.svg
Sabiha Gökçen Airport.JPG
Airport typePublic
OwnerHEAŞ (Airport Management & Aeronautical Industries Inc)
OperatorMalaysia Airports
ServesIstanbul, Turkey
LocationPendik, Istanbul
Hub for
Time zone(UTC+3)
Elevation AMSL312 ft / 95 m
Coordinates40°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 Istanbul
Location of airport in Istanbul
SAW is located in Turkey
SAW (Turkey)
SAW is located in Europe
SAW (Europe)
SAW is located in Earth
SAW (Earth)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 3,000 9,843 Concrete
Statistics (2018)
Passenger change 17-18Increase9%
Aircraft movements219,656 (2,017)
Movements change 16–17Decrease5%
Source: Turkish AIP at EUROCONTROL[1]
Passenger Traffic, ACI Europe[2]


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). The airport opened on 8th January 2001. 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.[4] The airport was planning (in 2011) to host 25 million passengers by 2023,[5][6] but had already handled more than 31 million passengers by 2017.

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.[7] 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 Traffic Growth Award by Airline News & Network Analysis web site[8]

With 28,285,578 passengers and 206,180 aircraft movements in 2015, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is the third busiest single-runway airport in the world, after Mumbai and London Gatwick. However, both Mumbai and Gatwick actually have two runways and are only considered "single-runway" because they can only operate the second runway if the main one is out of use. This makes Sabiha Gökçen the world's busiest true single-runway airport.[9]

A second runway is currently being built and is expected to be operational in June 2019.[10] The second runway will increase the hourly capacity from 40 to 80 movements. After the second runway is built, Lindbergh Field in San Diego will be the busiest true single runway airport in the world.


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

The features and services of the new terminal 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 destinationsEdit


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Sabiha Gökçen International Airport:[11]

Air Arabia Sharjah
Air Arabia Maroc Casablanca, Tangier
Air Manas Bishkek
AnadoluJet Adana, Ankara, Bodrum, Diyarbakır, Edremit, Ercan, Erzincan, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kars, Kayseri, Mardin, Nevşehir, Ordu–Giresun, Samsun, Sivas, Trabzon, Van
Atlantis European Airways Charter: Yerevan
Azerbaijan Airlines Baku
Buta Airways Baku[12]
Emirates Dubai–International[13]
FlyBaghdad Baghdad
flydubai Dubai–International
Flynas Jeddah, Riyadh
Jazeera Airways Kuwait City[14]
Jordan Aviation Amman–Queen Alia
Kuwait Airways Seasonal: Kuwait City
Malaysia Airlines Charter: Kuala Lumpur[15]
Nile Air Cairo
Pegasus Airlines Abu Dhabi,[16] Adana, Almaty, Amasya/Merzifon, Amsterdam, Ankara, Antalya, Athens, Baghdad, Bahrain, Balıkesir/Edremit, Barcelona, Basel/Mulhouse, Basra,[17] Batman, Batumi (begins 1 March 2020), Beirut, Belgrade, Bergamo, Berlin–Schönefeld, Bishkek, Bodrum, Bologna, Bucharest, Budapest, Charleroi, Casablanca,[18] Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Dalaman, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Doha, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Eindhoven,[19] Elazığ, Erbil, Ercan, Erzincan, Erzurum, Frankfurt, Gaziantep, Gazipaşa, Geneva, Grozny, Hamburg, Hannover, Hatay, Hurghada, Izmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kars, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kharkiv, Konya, Krasnodar, Kuwait, London–Stansted, Lviv, Lyon, Madrid, Malatya, Manchester,[20] Mardin, Marseille, Medina (begins 12 January 2020),[21] Milan–Malpensa, Mineralnye Vody, Moscow–Domodedovo, Munich, Münster/Osnabrück, Muş, Muscat,[22] Nevşehir, Nice, Nuremberg, Oslo–Gardermoen, Ordu–Giresun, Paris–Orly, Prague, Pristina, Ras Al Khaimah,[23] Riyadh,[24] Rome–Fiumicino, Rotterdam,[25] Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Sarajevo, Sharjah,[26] Sharm El Sheikh, Sivas, Skopje, Stockholm–Arlanda, Stuttgart, Sulaymaniyah, Tbilisi, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Tirana, Trabzon, Van, Venice,[27] Vienna, Zaporizhia, Zurich
Pobeda Krasnodar,[28] Moscow–Vnukovo[29]
Qatar Airways Doha
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca[30]
SalamAir Muscat[31]
SunExpress Antalya
Turkish Airlines Amsterdam, Ankara, Antalya, Baghdad, Barcelona, Berlin–Tegel, Bodrum, Brussels, Dalaman, Doha,[32] Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Ercan, Frankfurt, Izmir, Jeddah, Kuwait, London–Gatwick, Milan–Malpensa, Munich, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Riyadh, Rome–Fiumicino, Stuttgart, Tbilisi, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Vienna
Seasonal: Erbil, Bahrain
Uzbekistan Airways Charter: Tashkent[33]


Air ACTBaku, Beirut, Frankfurt, Liège
ASL Airlines BelgiumLiège
Buraq AirMisrata
CargoluxAmman–Queen Alia, Luxembourg
Ethiopian Airlines CargoAddis Ababa, Liège
Fars Air QeshmTehran-Mehrabad
MNG AirlinesLeipzig/Halle, Barcelona, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Doha
Silk Road CargoTashkent
Silk Way AirlinesBaku
ULS Airlines CargoBeirut, Misrata, Tripoli


Traffic figuresEdit

Terminal building
Check-in area
View of the apron
İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport passenger traffic statistics[34]
Year Domestic % change International % change Total % change
2019 (Jan-Sep) 16.216.567   6% 10.432.123   20% 26.648.690   3%
2018 22,514,048   7% 11,619,569   13% 34,133,617   9%
2017 21,056,767   4% 10,329,074   9% 31,385,841   6%
2016 20,131,365   9% 9,446,370   1% 29,577,735   5%
2015 18,535,463   24% 9,576,975   12% 28,108,738   20%
2014 15,008,600   26% 8,499,541   29% 23,508,141   27%
2013 11,947,424   23% 6,694,418   35% 18,641,842   27%
2012 9,486,469   9% 5,000,773   13% 14,487,242   10%
2011 8,704,249   16% 4,420,421   20% 13,124,670   17%
2010 7,435,158   65% 3,694,314   84% 11,129,472   71%
2009 4,547,673   63% 2,092,285   33% 6,639,958   52%
2008 2,764,856   9% 1,516,337   27% 4,281,193   15%
2007 2,528,549   17% 1,191,946   56% 3,720,495   28%
2006 2,153,561   285% 762,893   66% 2,916,454   186%
2005 559,824   5,323% 459,922   96% 1,019,746   315%
2004 10,323   265% 235,278   52% 245,601   56%
2003 2,826 154,346 157,172

Passenger developmentEdit

Sabiha Gökçen passenger totals, 2005–2018 (millions)

Ground transportEdit

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


The airport is located 14 km from the district 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 coachesEdit

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

Car and taxiEdit

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

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • 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.[35] Three days later, it was reported that PKK-affiliated terrorist group Kurdistan Freedom Falcons had organized the attack.[36]


  1. ^ a b EAD Basic. Retrieved on 1 August 2011.
  2. ^ "ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report. December, Q4 and Full Year 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  3. ^ "First female combat pilot". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. ^ 2010 airport statistics. Retrieved on 1 August 2011.
  5. ^ İstanbul's 2nd Airport To Reach 25 Million Passengers By 2023. (24 May 2011). Retrieved on 1 August 2011.
  6. ^ Sabiha Gökçen'de rekor yolcu sayısı. Retrieved on 1 August 2011.
  7. ^ Sabiha Gökçen dünyanın en iyi havalimanı seçildi – Hürriyet Ekonomi. Retrieved on 1 August 2011.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ V, Manju (13 May 2017). "Now, Mumbai world's busiest airport with only one runway". The Times of India. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  10. ^ World`s busiest single-runway commercial airports. Retrieved on 13 November 2016.
  11. ^ - Flight Destinations retrieved 3 August 2016
  12. ^ "Timetable of Buta Airways flights". Buta Airways.
  13. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Emirates resumes Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen route from June 2018".
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Long haul flights start at Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen airport". Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Pegasus adds new international routes from June 2017". routesonline. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Pegasus adds new Iraqi routes in 1Q19". routesonline. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  18. ^}
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Liu, Jim. "Pegasus adds Madinah flights from Jan 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  22. ^ 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Pegasus adds Muscat service from July 2018".
  23. ^ "Pegasus schedules Ras al Khaimah launch in late-Oct 2019". 23 July 2019.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Pegasus adds Hamburg / Rotterdam service in W18". Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Pegasus adds Istanbul – Sharjah route from mid-Dec 2018". routesonline. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  27. ^ Liu, Jim (20 February 2019). "Pegasus adds Venice service from July 2019". Routesonline.
  28. ^ Liu, Jim (17 September 2019). "Pobeda re-schedules Krasnodar – Istanbul launch to late-Oct 2019". Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  29. ^ Pobeda adds Moscow – Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen service from late-Sep 2018 Routesonline. 16 September 2018.
  30. ^ Liu, Jim. "Royal Air Maroc adds Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen service from late-June 2019". Routesonline. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Turkish Airlines adds Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen – Doha from late-Oct 2018". Routesonline. 9 October 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Uzbekistan Airways adds Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen charters in W19". Airlineroute. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  34. ^ DHMİ Genel Müdürlüğü. "Devlet Hava Meydanları İşletmesi Genel Müdürlüğü". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  35. ^ Daren Butler (23 December 2015). "Suspected bomb kills one at Istanbul airport, investigation launched". Reuters UK.
  36. ^ "PKK-affiliated terrorist group claims responsibility for Istanbul airport attack". DailySabah. 26 December 2015.

External linksEdit