Well, we knew that the April 5-7 timeframe was the latest date to be put forth for the big move from Ataturk airport to the new Istanbul airport but now Turkish Airlines is making the announcement of the move as well. As a result, there are some things you should know about if you are flying with Turkish Airlines next month.
The New Istanbul Airport Will Be Open for All Turkish Airline Flights April 6th
If you have been wondering about award availability on Turkish Airlines lately, it has been dryer than normal! I had been checking several dates in April as a chance to check out the new airport and there was not a lot there. However, that began to change on Friday. More space has been opened in early April and the middle of April.
Something I saw today that was new on the Turkish Airlines site (from when I checked it last week) is that they are proclaiming the official date of their transfer from the current Istanbul (Ataturk) Airport to the new Istanbul Airport. That date is April 6 at 2AM LMT for all Turkish Airlines flights.
While the transfer of equipment and everything from Ataturk will begin on April 5th and end on April 7th, Turkish Airlines is letting everyone know that all flights on their aircraft will be happening after 2AM local time on April 6th. That means if you are arriving in Istanbul on Turkish Airlines on April 6th, it will be at the new airport.
What You Should Know if You Are Flying Turkish Airlines in April
First things first, during the transfer period of April 5 – April 7, all flights at the Istanbul and Ataturk airports will be restricted to 35 departures per hour and 35 arrivals per hour. Furthermore, only Turkey-based airlines will be allowed to take-off and land during that period of time.
This means that, if you are flying Turkish during that timeframe, you will need to check and see if your flights are still on schedule. Turkish Airlines says that they have had to make some cancellations from April 5 – 20 so check your flight status.
Check Your Aircraft
It also means that Turkish will be using some aircraft on some unusual routes. For example, I will be flying Istanbul to Athens and it will actually be on their Boeing 777-300! That flight is normally a much smaller aircraft like a 737.
Larger aircraft on some routes will mean larger business class cabins. If you were only able to get economy on a business class award before, check to see if there is space in business class now.
Check Your Airport and Layover/Stopover Time
If you happen to be transiting the new Istanbul airport right after the opening, make sure you have plenty of time in your layover to figure out where you need to go. Even though the new Istanbul airport has been “open” for months, there will be plenty of employees that may be as new to the airport as you are. It will likely take everyone some getting used to so make sure you allow yourself some time.
Finally, if you happen to be flying Turkish during the move, make sure you check with them to make sure which airport you will be flying in and out of if you have a stopover in Istanbul. It would be pretty bad to go to the wrong airport for your departing flight!
The “Great Move” is finally happening to the new Istanbul Airport! I am really looking forward to it and it looks like I will be there just hours after Turkish starts flying to the new airport. So, if things go as they are supposed to, make sure you check back on April 6 or 7th for an overview of how the new airport is operating!