Turkish Airlines has moved to Istanbul Airport - what it means for travellers
When will Turkish Airlines be moving to Istanbul Airport?
Turkish Airlines is already operating from Istanbul Airport, along with many other international carriers! Turkish Airlines staged a monumental move to Istanbul airport on 8 April 2019, moving 44 tons of equipment in 41 hours.. After decades operating out of Ataturk Airport, the national airline has relocated all of its administrative and aviation functions to the new - much larger - airport. This might sound like a distant concern for everyday travellers, but the airline's relocation may well make a difference for visitors to Turkey or those transiting to other destinations. Let's explore what it all means.
What does the move entail?
The move is a massive undertaking for Turkish Airlines. The airline described the move as the largest relocation in civil aviation history, requiring the use of 15,000 ground vehicles and 5,000 trucks to move 47,000 tons of equipment, all within less than two days.. In the periphery, flight plans are being tweaked, air traffic control is still adjusting to the huge new workload, and pilots are easing themselves into the new airport's runways.
Will there be any changes to passengers' tickets?
One consequence the travellers may immediately notice is a simple IATA code switch. When Istanbul Airport takes over from Ataturk as the city's major hub, the new airport will assume the IST code, with Ataturk becoming ISL. This is worth checking on all tickets, as some flights may still land at the older airport as international carriers gradually make the switch.
Does the new airport have good transportation links?
Some travellers may also have anticipated arrival at Ataturk, instead of the new airport. The older arrival point is some 30 miles south of Istanbul Airport, and has slightly better transport links. While Ataturk enjoys a direct Metro connection, the subway at Istanbul Airport won't be ready for a year or more. Remember to plan ahead and prepare for some delays when transferring into town!
What facilities can you expect at Istanbul Airport?
Travellers who are flying out of Istanbul Airport or changing planes for onward travel will also be keen to know about the new hub's on-site facilities. The brand-new Turkish Airlines Lounge offers the premier customer services of old - think free Wi-Fi, food and drink, showers, and even roving masseuses - but with double the capacity like computers, food and drink, and showers. However, be aware that the lounge may not be fully operational for the first few weeks, and restaurants across the terminal may also take time to appear. Some places are already open, so there will be places to grab a bite to eat or a coffee in between flights.
The "big move" is set to enhance the services available for Turkish Airlines customers. Upon its scheduled full completion, the new airport will have better international connections, facilities, and ground transportation options. For now, until everything settles down, plan ahead so that a few early hiccups will do nothing to spoil your next transfer or holiday experience!