The new Istanbul Airport has been open to the public for about 8 months now. While it is an amazing and beautiful airport, there are some shortcomings with the airport and its location.
New Istanbul Airport Metro Construction Began
Two Problems with the New Istanbul Airport
One of the chief complaints by many is that the sheer size of the airport should have meant that there was some kind of transportation provided inside of the airport for the various terminals. Instead, the best you are going to get (unless you are elderly/disabled and need the carts that zip around) is the moving walkway. Simply, that is not enough.
I have been through the Istanbul Airport at least half a dozen times since it opened (including the day it opened) and typically will clock my walk to various gates I need to see what the distance is. I have clocked one such journey at 1.5 miles. For me, that isn’t a big deal at all but with a family or for others with tighter connections, that is definitely a big deal.
Access Methods to Downtown Istanbul
Another shortcoming – and one that is now being addressed – was transportation to downtown Istanbul. While there is bus service (see this page for bus information), the 20+ mile journey is not as conducive as many travelers would have wanted to get access to Istanbul from the airport.
As of January 18, that situation is now being addressed. That was the day that construction began on a high speed metro that will carry passengers from the Istanbul Airport to Gayrettepe on the European side of Istanbul. This route of 23 miles will take just 35 miles as this metro hits speeds up to 74 mph. It will have 9 stops along the way.
This will definitely be preferable to dealing with buses and traffic and would likely make it a much easier way for passengers with longer layovers to take a hotel in the city or venture out on their own to explore the sites. It remains to be seen if Turkish Airlines would allow the metro as a valid transportation method for their layover program (my guess is “no”). Also, no word yet on cost.
Unfortunately, this new metro line will not open until August of 2021. The Turkish president, present for the construction beginning, said that they didn’t neglect transportation with the new airport, likely as a way to explain why it took almost a year for the airport to be open before the metro construction began.
I would venture a guess that, due to all the delays that kept pushing the opening back, Turkey decided to wait until the airport was open before sinking a ton of money into a route that would really just be about servicing the airport. Too bad they waited but at least it is something to look forward to for next year!