Travel News

The New Istanbul Airport Opening Date Is Set & What You Should Know if Flying Turkish Airlines

New Istanbul airport
Written by Charlie

After several setbacks, the opening date for the new Istanbul Airport is set. Turkish Airlines will be having some things different as a result so see what you should know if flying Turkish!

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

date new istanbul airport

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!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Selfishly, I was hoping for further delays because I am going to Istanbul in June. The old airport was close to the city and you could get to the city center very inexpensively. Not so with the new airport. I don’t think there’s any public transportation yet to the city center and it’s going to be more $$ and time getting to my hotel.

    • I would imagine that they have something in place for passengers by June. It would seem to be a horrible oversight to not provide for that. I actually wasn’t planning on being there for the opening but enjoying one more trip through the old airport when I saw the message that flights arriving after 2AM will be at the new airport. So, at least I get to see how things work from the get-go!

  • Wondering what’s going to happen with their free hotel stays for long layovers. Have a 18 hour layover from business class and haven’t heard anything about what hotels are available etc. Turkish on Twitter says I’m still eligible, but what does that even mean, and will I still need to apply for a Visa like at Ataturk.

    • When is your trip? I am fairly certain that TK will be doing everything they can to continue to make that happen since it is a huge selling point for them (they had 28,000 passengers make use of the stopover option alone last year). Even now, if you are a US passport holder, you actually need to apply for the visa online. I believe they ended all visa on arrivals for US passports about 1.5 years ago.

  • I also wonder how this will effect the free tours they offer on long layovers if the new airport is so much further outside the city center? I was considering taking them from Houston to Morocco and using the long layover as a way to see some of Istanbul for free but I’d guess it will be more difficult to do so.

    Please post pictures etc of the new Turkish Lounge! I’ve been dying to see anything re it.