Istanbul Airport Terminal

The Biggest Terminal Building in the World

An Overview of the Terminal at New Istanbul Aiport

The huge Istanbul airport terminal sprawls over a 1.440.000m2 area and is considered the biggest terminal building worldwide, under one roof. State of art decorated, the new terminal building is divided into a Departure area and an Arrival zone. If you reach Istanbul Airport by car, for your convenience, you should use the Turquoise and Green Parking in case your upcoming flight is domestic and the Yellow, Red, and Blue Parking areas if it is international.

Passengers enter the Departure level through 7 doors. In general terms, doors 1 and 2 serve domestic flights while the rest of them are more convenient to reach the international check-in counters. Domestic travelers must head to check-in counters D and E (self-service check-in point) and continue to the passport control area right after aisle D. On the other hand, passengers who are traveling abroad should make their way to aisles E (shelf-service check-in counter), F, G, H, and J while the relevant passport control area is located just on the opposite side of these aisles. Note that Entrance 5 is addressed only to business-class passengers and Miles & More members who are to board an international flight.

Furthermore, specific check-in counters are established for special passenger categories. Therefore, large traveling groups and people with special needs are served in aisle G while aisle K is at the families’ service. Travelers coming from the US, UK, and Canada should pass through check-in counter K whereas Star Alliance Gold members and passengers who travel business-class with Turkish Airlines should head to aisle L. 

Finally, the new Istanbul terminal has 5 piers. A, B, D, and F are assigned to international boarding gates while pier G and 3 boarding areas of pier F serve the domestic flights.

It is worth mentioning that although for the moment Istanbul Airport has only one terminal building, by 2025 when its construction will be entirely completed, the new aviation hub will have 4 terminals which will be interconnected by railway.

The Outstanding New Istanbul Airport Terminal

The new airport terminal is a masterpiece, celebrating the mixture of contemporary architecture with national history and culture. What first catches your eye is, of course, the terminal’s enormous size which is really impressive. What’s more, the high ceilings, the large picture windows, and the skylights create a refreshing and vivacious atmosphere. What is also striking is that the terminal is designed in a way that the important zones (check-in areas etc.) are more illuminated than the rest of the building. Additionally, despite the modern touches scattered throughout the airport, history and religion play a huge part in the entire decoration. Thus, the arcs and curves of the terminal are Islamic-inspired, reminding of the mosques, while the main hall is designed after the Bosphorus Strait. 

However, the famous, multi-award-winning air traffic control tower is, without any doubt, the most distinctive airport feature. The 90-meters high structure resembles a tulip, a historical symbol of Istanbul city.

The Main Drawback of Istanbul Airport Terminal

As impressive, fresh, and technologically advanced as the new Istanbul Airport may be, it has a major drawback. The terminal building is huge, divided into five concourses, but there is only one airport security area for domestic flights and another one for international passengers. This fact combined with the lack of any internal transit system (shuttle buses, trains, etc.) increases the risk of missing an upcoming flight. What’s more, the moving walkways are not sufficient. The walking distance between gates as well as from the central terminal zone to each pier is significant, making the transfers inside the airport time-consuming and demanding.

In any case, passengers are advised to get to Istanbul International Airport 2.5-3 hours before their due flight to be able to reach their gate stress-free.


How many terminals are there in Istanbul Airport?

For the time being, IST Airport has only one terminal building. Nevertheless, three more -significantly smaller- buildings are going to conclude the airport complex in the future. 

Is Istanbul Airport big?

The new Istanbul Airport is considered one of the world’s largest (if not the largest). Therefore, navigating around the impressively big airport complex can become tiring and stressful, especially when trying to catch an upcoming flight.