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BLOG 11 Major Airports in Turkey for Domestic and International Travel

3 April 2024 / Travel


11 Major Airports in Turkey

Whether you arrive for business or leisure, knowing about major airports in Turkey will help you plan and ensure smooth journeys. People who purchase holiday homes or live here year-round know all about Turkish airports and where they connect; hence, they can plan their trips accordingly. They can also testify the modern airports with international and domestic terminals are award-winning air travel hubs.

Over the last 20 years, Turkey, with its blended rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, has emerged in popularity with travellers from around the globe. As the bridge between Europe and Asia, Turkey offers diverse experiences, whether exploring ancient ruins, indulging in mouthwatering cuisine, or basking in the sun on the Mediterranean coast. Hence, Turkey's airports facilitate seamless travel for millions of visitors annually, from bustling Istanbul to the historical gems of Izmir and Antalya's sun-soaked shores.

Join us as we explore Turkey's major international airports, exploring their unique features, services, and destinations. For seasoned travellers or those looking to invest in real estate, this guide will help you navigate the skies and make the most of your Turkish adventure. So fasten your seatbelt, stow your tray tables, and prepare for takeoff as we discover Turkey's major international airports.

11 Major Airports in Turkey for Countrywide and Global Flights

NOTE: It is worth knowing that the Turkish word for airport is havalimanı. Also, the only complaint we ever hear about Turkish airports is that food and drink are expensive, so you might want to eat before you go or order a meal for the plane.

1. Two Airports in Istanbul

Bridging Europe and Asia, Istanbul boasts two major airports that are gateways to a rich cultural tapestry and bustling economic activities. These airports epitomize Istanbul's role, facilitating seamless travel experiences for millions of passengers annually and shaping the city's dynamic character and international significance. Istanbul is Turkey's top-visited destination; hence, the two airports are the busiest. But don't worry because top-notch services and facilities ensure quick and easy travel through them.

Istanbul New Airport

Istanbul New Airport: Istanbul Airport (IATA code IST) is the leading international airport serving Istanbul and the rest of Turkey. Replacing Istanbul Ataturk as the city's primary airport with a passenger capacity of 200 million, it is a significant international hub connecting travellers to various destinations. In European Istanbul, the air travel hub serves famous districts like Besiktas and the renowned Sultanahmet area. Being a global hub with many flights to more than 300 destinations, Istanbul International boasts state-of-the-art facilities, multiple runways, and a vast terminal complex for major airlines like Turkish Airlines, which fly between Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Sabiha Gokcen: Pendik/Istanbul Airport (IATA code SAW) on Istanbul's Asian side is often used for regional flights, thanks to Airlines like Sun Express and Anadolu Jet. As an alternative access point, while New Istanbul Airport is the leading international gateway, the lack of direct transportation options makes Sabiha Gokcen International another choice for business and leisure travellers. Moreover, Gokcen International connects travellers to popular destinations on the Asian side. The location provides easy access to places like Uskudar and Kadikoy, with historical landmarks, vibrant markets, and stunning views across the Bosphorus Strait.

What Happened to Istanbul Ataturk Airport?

Istanbul Atatürk, once the main international airport serving Istanbul, Turkey, was closed to commercial passenger flights in April 2019. The closure was part of strategic plans by the Turkish government to consolidate Istanbul's air traffic operations. Istanbul Atatürk Airport, named after the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was one of Europe's busiest airports. However, due to the location and limited expansion options, the air travel hub faced capacity constraints and operational challenges, so it closed down for commercial flights.

The closure of Atatürk Airport marked the end of an era for Istanbul's aviation sector. Still, it opened up new opportunities for air transportation infrastructure. Consolidating operations at Istanbul Airport allowed for more efficient air traffic management and improved services. The plan is to turn the old airport into a green park area, although this has seen much controversy. One runway is still in use for cargo planes and private jets. 

Antalya Airport

2: Antalya Airport on the Southern Mediterranean Coast of Turkey

* Sits 13 kilometres from Antalya city centre

* Handles roughly 31 million air passengers every year

* Favourite beach destination for Russian, German, and British holidaymakers.

* 2nd busiest airport in Turkey, after Istanbul

* Two international terminals and one domestic terminal

Antalya Airport (AYT) is the primary gateway to the larger region with the same name. Quickly reached places include Antalya city centre, Kemer, golfing Belek, rustic Kas, luxury Kalkan, historical Side, and bustling Alanya. The Antalya region is Turkey's top beach destination thanks to its position on the Mediterranean coast and what is known as the Turkish Riviera or Turquoise Coast. The region is often ranked as home to Turkey's best beaches.

Antalya also highlights ancient ruins like the best-preserved Aspendos theatre in Turkey and the Ottoman Kaleici old town. In addition to the beautiful coastline, Turkey’s Antalya region is home to breathtaking natural landscapes, including the Taurus Mountains, waterfalls, and national parks. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking, mountain biking, jeep safaris, and rafting in Köprülü Canyon National Park.

Also, use Gazipasa:  If you are travelling to Alanya, there is also the option of Gazipaşa domestic Airport (GZP), approximately 25 kilometres east of Alanya city and about 180 kilometres west of Antalya city centre. Originally a military airfield, Gazipaşa was opened for civilian use in 2010 after undergoing renovations and upgrades. Although the flight schedules are limited, it is often used to connect via domestic routes to other Turkish airports.

3: Seasonal Flights at Dalaman (DLM)

*Two terminals: one for international flights and the other for domestic

*Known as one of the top three tourist airports in Turkey

*Flights to more than 100 destinations across the world but limited winter schedule

*Handles roughly 4 million passengers every year

*Renovations were designed by the award-winning Turkish architect Emre Aralot

Dalaman Airport (DLM) in the Muğla Province of southwestern Turkey is well-known for its extensive tourist services. It serves the popular resort destinations of Marmaris, beautiful Dalyan, beachy Sarigerme and the Fethiye region. Marmaris, a popular tourist destination and city centre along the Turkish Riviera, lies approximately 100 kilometres east of Dalaman International. It earns fame for its picturesque coastline, vibrant nightlife, and historical attractions like Marmaris Castle.

Fethiye, situated around 50 kilometres west, is another renowned tourist spot offering stunning beaches and the captivating ancient Telmessos city ruins. Destinations within the Fethiye region include Calis Beach, Fethiye city centre, Hisaronu and Ovacik, Oludeniz, home to the famous Blue Lagoon, and yachting and upmarket Gocek on the outskirts.

Bodrum in Turkey

4: Milas Airport and the Bodrum Peninsula of Turkey

Milas Bodrum Airport (BJV) in western Turkey sits on the edge of the stunning Bodrum peninsula. Situated in Turkey's Mugla province, this airport offers access to various popular tourist destinations in the region, including Gumbet, Torba, Bodrum town centre, Gumusluk, Turgutreis, and Yalikavak. The air travel hub, nestled amidst picturesque landscapes, surrounded by clear Aegean waters and breathtaking mountains, offers limited winter schedules (November to April) but handles roughly 3 million passengers during official tourism seasons.

Whether visiting beautiful Bodrum city with ancient ruins and bustling marina or heading to Altinkum coastal town with sandy beaches and exciting nightlife, Bodrum airport excels in air travel. It offers a convenient location amidst stunning landscapes, close to popular tourist destinations. With car rental, it is the perfect gateway to the beautiful Bodrum peninsula and other nearby destinations like Altinkum and Kusadasi.

5: Izmir Airport for Modern Aegean Living in Turkey

On Turkey's Aegean Sea coast, Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (ADB) consists of two terminals equipped with modern amenities, including duty-free shops, restaurants, and cafes. For transportation, Izmir Adnan Menderes offers convenient options. The metro station on the lower level provides easy access to the city centre and other major destinations. Additionally, shuttle buses and taxis are available outside the terminal, offering alternate transportation choices.

Izmir, a coastal city on Turkey's Aegean Sea, is known for its rich history, good weather, and beautiful beaches. With a population of over three million, Izmir, a bustling cultural and economic hub, offers many modern and historic attractions, including Ephesus ancient ruins, Kemeralti Bazaar, and the Kordon waterfront area.

6: Ankara Esenboğa International (ESB) – Into the Heart of Turkey

Ankara Esenboğa (ESB) is just 25 kilometres from the Turkish capital. This regional airport's close proximity to the city centre is incredibly convenient. Within a short distance lies Anitkabir Mausoleum, the final resting place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founder and first president. This iconic monument holds significant historical and cultural value and attracts numerous visitors annually.

Additionally, the Ataturk Cultural Center is another attraction easily accessed from ESB. This cultural hub hosts artistic performances, including theatre, ballet, opera, and concerts. With such convenient access to these renowned landmarks and places of interest, Ankara Esenboğa International truly showcases Ankara's cultural heritage.

7: Exploring Adana Airport: Gateway to Southern Turkey's Vibrant Region

In Turkey's Çukurova region, Adana Airport is the primary gateway to this dynamic area, known for historical significance, agricultural abundance, and strategic importance. Officially called Adana Şakirpaşa (IATA: ADA, ICAO: LTAF), it handles millions of passengers annually. Named after Şakirpaşa, a prominent Turkish figure, Adana Airport provides connections to major cities in Turkey and several international destinations, facilitating tourism, trade, and business activities.

The Adana region is famous for its fertile lands, thanks to the waters of the Seyhan River and the Ceyhan River, which flow through the area. This abundance of water made Adana an agricultural powerhouse, producing crops like cotton, citrus fruits, and olives. The Adana region's agricultural heritage is celebrated annually during Adana's Orange Blossom Carnival, which attracts visitors from across Turkey and beyond.

In addition to agricultural significance, Adana holds historical importance dating back thousands of years. The city was once part of ancient Anatolia civilizations, and evidence is seen in archaeological sites like Yilankale (Snake Castle) and Augusta ruins, an ancient Roman city.

Adana's diverse cultural heritage is reflected in its culinary delights, which feature Turkish, Arabic, and Mediterranean influences. Specialities include Adana kebab and şırdan (a traditional dish made from sheep intestines). Whether arriving for business or pleasure, travellers passing through Adana enjoy this dynamic part of Turkey.

8: Hatay Domestic Airport

Hatay Domestic Airport (HTY) is approximately 25 kilometres northeast of Antakya and connects to major Turkish cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. But also operates international flights to countries like Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, catering to leisure and business travellers. Recently, Hatay Airport underwent expansion and modernization efforts to enhance capacity and efficiency, accommodate growing passengers and improve overall travel experiences.

In southern Turkey, Hatay is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the west and Syria to the south. The region boasts diverse landscapes, including coastal areas, fertile plains, and mountainous terrain. Antakya, the provincial capital, is one of the world's oldest inhabited cities, and it is known for historical sites like the Church of St. Peter and Hatay Archaeology Museum. The region's cultural heritage is influenced by multicultural populations, with Arab, Turkish, and Armenian communities coexisting for centuries.

Hatay offers several attractions for visitors, including historical sites, natural wonders, and cultural experiences. Highlights include the ancient cities of Antioch and Seleucia Pieria, the Crusader-era fortress of Vakıflı, the seaside town of İskenderun, and scenic landscapes of the Nur Mountains.

9: Trabzon Airport in North-East Turkey

Trabzon Airport (TZX), called Trabzon International, sits in Turkey’s Black Sea region. The airport serves Trabzon city and surrounding areas. It has a modern terminal building and duty-free shops. Trabzon Airport is approximately 8 kilometres east of the city centre, and Air Arabia is well established here.

Trabzon Airport offers flights to major cities in Turkey and destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Airlines like Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, and Sun Express operate regularly scheduled flights. Air passengers can quickly access Trabzon's city centre and famous tourist destinations like Rize, Uzungol, and Ayder Plateau.

Uzungol Lake Resort, in Turkey's Pontic Mountains, is accessible from Trabzon Airport via a scenic drive of approximately 90 kilometres. Ayder Plateau, in the Camlihemsin district of Rize province, features beautiful alpine meadows, thermal springs, and traditional wooden houses. With modern facilities and a convenient location, the airport allows visitors to discover diverse landscapes, rich culture, and the natural beauty of Turkey's northeastern coast.

10: Malatya Airport – Gateway to Cultural Experiences

Malatya Airport (MLX), officially called Malatya Erhaç, is a domestic airport in southeastern Turkey. Sitting approximately 28 kilometres southwest of Malatya city centre, a single terminal building is equipped with rental car services. It primarily serves domestic flights within Turkey, connecting Malatya with Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.

Malatya province in southeastern Turkey is bordered by Elazığ to the east, Adıyaman to the southwest, and Kahramanmaraş to the west. Visitors explore historical sites like Aslantepe archaeological site, Malatya Museum, and Battalgazi Grand Mosque. Malatya, renowned for mass agricultural production, particularly apricots, is often called the "Apricot Capital of Turkey," its annual apricot harvests attract visitors from around the country. Nearby natural attractions include the Euphrates River, Nemrut Crater Lake, and the Malatya Highlands.

11: Bursa Yenisehir Airport

Bursa Yenisehir Domestic Airport (YEI) in northwestern Turkey connects to the central city that has gained international fame over the last ten years for the UNESCO World Heritage sites and Uludag skiing resort. Bursa Yenisehir, approximately 50 kilometres south of Bursa city centre, features a single terminal building with check-in counters, baggage claim areas, rental car services, and dining options. It primarily serves domestic flights within Turkey.

Bursa in northwestern Turkey, at the foot of Uludağ Mountain within the Marmara Region, was the first Ottoman Empire capital and is home to numerous historical landmarks, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bursa and Cumalıkızık. The city's strategic location and strong economy have attracted investments from international companies, contributing to growth and development.

Bursa is increasingly popular among Middle Eastern nationals for property investment, thanks to the favourable climate, natural beauty, and relatively lower property prices than other major Turkish cities. Property investors like Bursa not only seek the potential for capital appreciation but also for quality of life, cultural amenities, and proximity to Istanbul, making the region attractive for both investment and leisure.

Flying to Turkey

What Domestic and International Airlines Fly in Turkey?

Several domestic airlines operate in Turkey, providing extensive coverage. Some prominent domestic airlines in Turkey include Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Anadolu Jet, Sun Express, and Atlas Global. Pegasus Airlines, another major player in Turkey's domestic airline market, operates low-cost flights within Turkey, including popular tourist spots like Bodrum and Dalaman.

Several international airlines fly in Turkey, offering regular flights from major cities worldwide. Some airlines include Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad. Everyone has many options when flying to Turkey, making the country well-connected for international travel.

Which is the biggest Airport in Turkey?

Turkey's biggest airport is Istanbul New Airport, which opened in 2018 and can handle 200 million passengers annually. Sitting in Istanbul's Arnavutköy district, this massive airport spans an area of 76.5 million square meters and replaced the old Atatürk Airport as the leading international gateway to Turkey.

Antalya Airport takes 2nd spot as one of Turkey's busiest airports in Turkey. Situated on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, it accesses the Turkish Riviera. Antalya Airport handles over 33 million passengers annually, offering connections to many destinations. As a central hub for tourists to reach stunning beaches and historical sites, Antalya Airport contributes heavily towards Turkey's tourism industry.

More About Turkey

So, as you can see, major airports in Turkey open up many experiences for this country, whether simply visiting, looking to move here, or researching how to invest. Whether you're seeking a new home or merely eager to delve into this enchanting nation, our website is your guide.

Are you curious about owning a slice of paradise in Turkey? Browse our meticulously curated selection of properties for sale, each offering modern comfort and timeless charm. From picturesque coastline villas to elegant apartments in bustling city centres, there's something for every taste and lifestyle.

Prefer to enrich your understanding of Turkey's rich heritage and diverse attractions? Dive into our extensive blog archives to uncover many articles delving into everything from historical landmarks to culinary delights. Immerse yourself in stories of this mesmerizing land and let your imagination soar.

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