Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IATA: IST, ICAO: LTBA) (Turkish: İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı) is the main international airport serving Istanbul, Turkey (followed by Sabiha Gökçen International Airport) and the biggest airport in Turkey by total number of passengers. Opened in 1924 and located in Yeşilköy, on the European side of the city, it is 24 km (15 mi) west of the city centre. In 1980, the airport was renamed Atatürk International Airport in honor of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. It served 45 million passengers in 2012, making it the 20th busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic and the 14th busiest in the world in terms of international passenger traffic, ranking just below Munich Airport. It was Europe’s 6th busiest airport in 2012, just below Amsterdam and Madrid.The Turkish Chamber of Civil Engineers lists Atatürk International Airport as one of the fifty civil engineering feats in Turkey, a list of remarkable engineering projects completed in the first 50 years of the chamber’s existence.In the 2013 Air Transport News awards ceremony, İstanbul Atatürk Airport was named Airport of the Year.Also, the airport has been named Europe’s Best Airport in 40-50 million passenger per year category at the 2013 Skytrax World Airport Awards.
Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (IATA: SAW, ICAO: LTFJ) is one of the two international airports serving İstanbul, Turkey. The facility is named after Sabiha Gökçen, the first female combat pilot in the world. Located 35 km (22 mi) southeast of central İstanbul, it is on the Asian side of the bi-continental city. It was built because Atatürk International Airport (on the European side) was not large enough to meet the booming passenger demands (both domestic and international). SAW’s international terminal capacity was 3 million passengers per year and the domestic terminal capacity was 0.5 million passengers per year. In June 2007, Turkish conglomerate Limak, 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. In 2010, Sabiha Gökçen airport handled 11,129,472 passengers, a 71% increase compared to 2009.The airport is planning to host 25 million passengers by 2023.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.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 is honored with Airport Traffic Growth Award by Airline News & Network Analysis web site anna.aero.