Sabiha Gökçen International Airport

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen
International Airport

İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen
Uluslararası Havalimanı
Airport type Public
Owner HEAŞ (Airport Management & Aeronautical Industries Inc)
Operator Malaysia Airports
Serves Istanbul, Turkey
Location Pendik, Istanbul
Hub for
Time zone (UTC+3)
Elevation AMSL 312 ft / 95 m
Coordinates 40°53′54″N 29°18′33″E / 40.89833°N 29.30917°E / 40.89833; 29.30917Coordinates: 40°53′54″N 29°18′33″E / 40.89833°N 29.30917°E / 40.89833; 29.30917
Location of airport in Istanbul
SAW (Turkey)
SAW (Europe)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 3,000 9,843 Concrete
Statistics (2017)
Passengers 31,385,841
Passenger change 16–17 6%
Aircraft movements 219,656
Movements change 16–17 5%
Source: Turkish AIP at EUROCONTROL[1]
Passenger Traffic, ACI Europe[2]

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (IATA: SAW, ICAO: LTFJ) is one of the two international airports serving Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, the other being Atatürk Airport. Located 35 km (22 mi) southeast[1] of central Istanbul, Sabiha Gökçen is on the Asian side of the bi-continental city and serves as the hub for Pegasus Airlines as well as a base for Turkish Airlines and Borajet (currently suspended). The facility is named after Sabiha Gökçen, adoptive daughter of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the first female fighter pilot in the world.[3]


The airport was built because Atatürk International Airport (located on the European side) was not large enough to meet the booming passenger demands (both domestic and international). In June 2007, Turkish conglomerate Limak Holding, India's GMR Group and Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad (MAHB) consortium gained the contract for upgrading and maintaining the airport. In mid-2008, ground was broken to upgrade the international terminal to handle 25 million passengers annually. The new terminal was inaugurated on 31 October 2009.

SAW's international terminal capacity originally was 3 million passengers per year and the domestic terminal capacity was 0.5 million passengers per year. In 2010, Sabiha Gökçen airport handled 11,129,472 passengers, a 71% increase compared to 2009.[4] The airport was planning (in 2011) to host 25 million passengers by 2023,[5][6] but had already handled more than 31 million passengers by 2017.

In September 2010, the airport was voted the World's Best Airport at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London and received the award.[7] The other awards received by the airport in 2010 were: Turkey’s Most Successful Tourism Investment 2010, the highly commended award from Routes Europe, and the Airport Traffic Growth Award by Airline News & Network Analysis web site[8]

With 28,285,578 passengers and 206,180 aircraft movements in 2015, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is the third busiest single-runway airport in the world, after Mumbai and London Gatwick. However, both Mumbai and Gatwick actually have two runways and are only considered "single-runway" because they can only operate the second runway if the main one is out of use. This makes Sabiha Gökçen the world's busiest true single-runway airport.[9]

A second runway is currently being built and is expected to be operational in June 2019.[10] The second runway will increase the hourly capacity from 40 to 80 movements.


The new terminal building with a 25 million annual passenger capacity conducts domestic and international flights under one roof.

The features and services of the new terminal and its outlying buildings include:

  • a four-storey car park with a capacity of about 4,718 vehicles + 72 bus (3.836 indoors and 882 + 72 bus outdoors).
  • a four-storey hotel with 128 rooms, adjacent to the terminal and with separate entrances at air and ground sides.
  • 112 check-in, 24 online check-in counters
  • a VIP building & apron viewing CIP halls with business lounges
  • Multi Aircraft Ramp System (MARS), allowing simultaneous service to 8 aircraft with large fuselages (IATA code E) or 16 middle-sized fuselage aircraft (IATA code C).
  • a 400 m² conference center
  • 5,000 m² food court, for cafés and restaurants belonging the leading food & beverage brands
  • a duty-free shopping area, with a ground of 4,500 square-meters; with shops at international standards.

The airport's cargo terminal has a capacity of 90,000 tons per year and is equipped with 18 cold storage depots.

Airlines and destinations


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Sabiha Gökçen International Airport:[11]

Air Algérie Oran
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air Arabia Jordan Amman
Air Arabia Maroc Casablanca
Air Manas Bishkek
AnadoluJet Adana, Ankara, Bodrum, Dalaman, Diyarbakır, Edremit, Erzincan, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kars, Kayseri, Mardin, Nevşehir, Ordu–Giresun, Samsun, Sivas, Trabzon, Van
AtlasGlobal Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Izmir, Jeddah
Azerbaijan Airlines Baku
Buta Airways Baku[12]
Emirates Dubai–International[13]
FlyBaghdad Baghdad
flydubai Dubai–International
Flynas Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh
Jordan Aviation Charter: Amman–Civil
Nile Air Cairo
Pegasus Airlines Abu Dhabi,[14] Adana, Almaty, Amasya/Merzifon, Amsterdam, Ankara, Antalya, Athens, Baghdad, Bahrain, Balıkesir/Edremit, Barcelona, Basel/Mulhouse, Batman, Beirut, Belgrade, Bergamo, Berlin–Schönefeld, Bishkek, Bodrum, Bologna, Bucharest, Budapest, Charleroi, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Dalaman, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Doha, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Elazığ, Erbil, Ercan, Erzincan, Erzurum, Frankfurt, Gaziantep, Gazipaşa, Geneva, Grozny, Hamburg, Hannover, Hatay, Hurghada, Izmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kastamonu, Kars, Kayseri, Kharkiv, Konya, Krasnodar, Kuwait, London–Stansted, Lviv, Lyon, Madrid, Malatya, Mardin, Marseille, Milan–Malpensa, Mineralnye Vody, Moscow–Domodedovo, Munich, Münster/Osnabrück, Muş, Muscat,[15] Nevşehir, Nice, Nizhniy Novgorod,[14] Nuremberg, Oslo–Gardermoen, Ordu–Giresun, Paris–Orly, Prague, Pristina, Rome–Fiumicino, Samara,[14] Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Sarajevo, Sharm el-Sheikh, Sivas, Skopje, Stockholm–Arlanda, Stuttgart, Sulaymaniyah, Tbilisi, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Tirana, Trabzon, Van, Volgograd,[14] Vienna, Zaporizhia, Zürich
Pobeda St Petersburg (begins 28 October 2018)[16]
Qatar Airways Doha
SunExpress Antalya, Izmir
Turkish Airlines Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Ankara, Antalya, Baghdad, Barcelona, Basra, Berlin–Tegel, Bodrum, Brussels, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Dalaman, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Ercan, Frankfurt, Izmir, Jeddah, Kuwait, London–Gatwick, Milan–Malpensa, Munich, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Riyadh, Rome–Fiumicino, Stockholm–Arlanda, Stuttgart, Tbilisi, Tehran–Imam Khomeini, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Vienna
Seasonal: Erbil, Bahrain
Wataniya Airways Kuwait
Wings of Lebanon Charter: Beirut


ASL Airlines BelgiumLiege
Buraq AirMisrata
CargoluxAmman–Queen Alia, Luxembourg
Ethiopian Airlines CargoAddis Ababa, Liege
Fars Air QeshmTehran-Mehrabad
MNG AirlinesLeipzig/Halle, Barcelona, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Doha
MyCargo AirlinesBaku, Beirut, Frankfurt, Liege
Silk Road CargoTashkent
Silk Way AirlinesBaku
Ukraine Air AllianceLviv, Kiev
ULS Airlines CargoBeirut, Misrata, Tallinn, Tripoli


Traffic figures

İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport passenger traffic statistics[17]
Year Domestic % change International % change Total % change
2017 21,056,767 4% 10,329,074 9% 31,385,841 6%
2016 20,131,365 9% 9,446,370 1% 29,577,735 5%
2015 18,535,463 24% 9,576,975 12% 28,108,738 20%
2014 15,008,600 26% 8,499,541 29% 23,508,141 27%
2013 11,947,424 23% 6,694,418 35% 18,641,842 27%
2012 9,486,469 9% 5,000,773 13% 14,487,242 10%
2011 8,704,249 16% 4,420,421 20% 13,124,670 17%
2010 7,435,158 65% 3,694,314 84% 11,129,472 71%
2009 4,547,673 63% 2,092,285 33% 6,639,958 52%
2008 2,764,856 9% 1,516,337 27% 4,281,193 15%
2007 2,528,549 17% 1,191,946 56% 3,720,495 28%
2006 2,153,561 285% 762,893 66% 2,916,454 186%
2005 559,824 5,323% 459,922 96% 1,019,746 315%
2004 10,323 265% 235,278 52% 245,601 56%
2003 2,826 154,346 157,172

Passenger development

Sabiha Gökçen passenger totals, 2005–2017 (millions)

Ground transport

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport is connected to the city of Istanbul and the city's wider metropolitan area through a number of transport options.


The airport is located 14 km from the district of Pendik's railway and sea-taxi stations but a connection via Marmaray is planned.


The M4 metro line is being extended towards the airport. The current terminus at Tavşantepe is about 10 km from the airport and reachable by taxi or bus E9.

Shuttlebuses and coaches

Shuttlebuses E10 and E11 serve Taksim and Kadıköy and there are coaches to nearby towns and cities.

Car and taxi

The airport is reachable by car from the E80 (Trans-European Motorway) which passes through the Istanbul Metropolitan Area.

Accidents and incidents

  • On 23 December 2015 at approximately 2:00 AM, explosions were reported to have occurred in a parked Pegasus Airlines aircraft, killing one cleaner and wounding another inside the plane. Five nearby planes were reported to be damaged as well. The operations were reported to continue normally soon after, however with heightened security measured in place.[18] Three days later, it was reported that PKK-affiliated terrorist group Kurdistan Freedom Falcons had organized the attack.[19]


  1. 1 2 EAD Basic. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  2. "ACI EUROPE Airport Traffic Report. December, Q4 and Full Year 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  3. "First female combat pilot". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  4. 2010 airport statistics. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  5. İstanbul's 2nd Airport To Reach 25 Million Passengers By 2023. (2011-05-24). Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  6. Sabiha Gökçen'de rekor yolcu sayısı. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  7. Sabiha Gökçen dünyanın en iyi havalimanı seçildi – Hürriyet Ekonomi. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  8. "EURO ANNIES 2011: Airport Awards". Airline Network News & Analysis. Retrieved 19 May 2011. In December 2013, MAHB acquired GMR's 40 percent stake in a deal worthed 225 million euros.
  9. V, Manju (13 May 2017). "Now, Mumbai world's busiest airport with only one runway". The Times of India. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  10. World`s busiest single-runway commercial airports. Retrieved on 2016-11-13.
  11. - Flight Destinations retrieved 3 August 2016
  12. "Timetable of Buta Airways flights". Buta Airways.
  13. 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Emirates resumes Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen route from June 2018".
  14. 1 2 3 4 "Pegasus adds new international routes from June 2017". routesonline. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  15. 2018, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Pegasus adds Muscat service from July 2018".
  16. Liu, Jim (25 August 2018). "Pobeda adds new European routes from Kaliningrad / St. Petersburg in 4Q18". Routesonline. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  17. DHMİ Genel Müdürlüğü. "Devlet Hava Meydanları İşletmesi Genel Müdürlüğü". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  18. Daren Butler (23 December 2015). "Suspected bomb kills one at Istanbul airport, investigation launched". Reuters UK.
  19. "PKK-affiliated terrorist group claims responsibility for Istanbul airport attack". DailySabah. 26 December 2015.

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