Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Istanbul

Sabiha Gokcen Airport ( Sabiha Gökçen Havaalanı in Turkish) is secondly built airport of Istanbul. It was built because the Ataturk International Airport (on the European side) was not large enough to meet the increasing passenger demands (both domestic and international). Its name “Sabiha Gökçen” comes from the first female combat pilot of the world. Its whole name is Sabiha Gokcen International Airport and IATA code for Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is SAW. It is located at Pendik/Kurtkoy of the Asian (Anatolian) side of Istanbul. Sabiha Gokcen Airport is, 40 km away from Kadıkoy, 12 km away from Pendik, and 50 km away from Taksim.

In recent decade, Istanbul have been having big numbers of international visitors. Ecomomic growth and integration with the world is some of the reasons of this. Also, development of the civil aviation in Turkiye, domestic flight fares have become able to compete with domestic bus fares. Thus, average turkish people ( I mean not businessmen) have started to choose planes to arrive places for their holidays, hometown visits or others. According to statistics provided by the airport, total passanger number showed increase of 30% for January-June in 2009 , 6 months range compared the same in the previous year. Sabiha Gokcen Airport’s international terminal capacity is 3 million passengers/year and the domestic terminal capacity is 0.5 million/year. Due to ever increasing passenger numbers, a new international terminal and its complementaries will be opened to service on 31 October 2009 so Sabiha Gokcen Airprt’s international terminal will be able to handle 25 million passengers annually. Amongst the lots of other technical and social facilities, Europe’s second largest Duty Free shopping area with a ground of 4500 square-meters should be the most outstanding one to take place in the new terminal.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport Facilities

The current terminal has souvenir shops, jevelry store, toyshop, cafe-bars, buffets, marts, duty free shops and a pharmacy that runs 7/24. There are also rent a car offices (hertz, avis and some others), an exchange office that runs 7/24, three turkish bank branches(Akbank( open between 9:00-20:00), Turkiye Is Bankası(open 24 hours) and Yapı ve Kredi Bankası) that give regular bank services and “atm”s of seven banks. As turkish banks integrated with international systems, you may use those atms if your debit or credit card is a member of those ones; mastercard, visa, plus, cirrus, electron, maestro, american express, unicredit bank.   There is a post office with the sign board of “PTT” that serves as a western union point as well as regular post office in daytime shift. By the way PTT is national post service of Turkey and has many branches across the whole Turkey. There is a masjid for men and women and a baby care room open 24 hours. Luggage trolleys and wheelchairs are available and free of charge. There are public pay  phones that may be used by credit cards.

Airlines fly to Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW)

The airlines that has regular flights from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is as follows; Aero Rent, Air Arabia, Air Berlin, Air Cairo, Air Memphis, Air Urga, Anadolujet, Daghestan Airlines, Easyjet,Germania, Germanwings, Hamburg Int’l, Jazeera, Kish Airlines, Kthy, My Air, Norwegian, Pegasus, Podilia Avia, Royal Falcon, Royal Wings, Sayakhat Airlines, Sham Wings, Sky Europe, Sky Georgia, Spanair, Sunexpress, Taban Air, Thy, Tui Fly, Turan Air, Wind Rose, Zagros Airlines. After new terminal completed, there would be growth on this list.

Asian Side of Istanbul

After construction of Sabiha Gokcen Airport and Istanbul Park there is a prominent increasing on hotel numbers in asian side of Istanbul. As the most visited touristic places are in European side, there is still a lot to do in Anatolian side. If your visit for Formula 1 GP or MotoGP, you should choose to use Sabiha Gokcen Airport and a hotel in Asian side of Istanbul. If there is a match of your team in Sukru Saracoglu Stadium against Fenerbahce ( maybe against another team but this stadium belongs to Fenerbahce SK). There are state and private universities in asian side of Istanbul which may be reached conveniently from SAW. Kadıkoy has nice sea-side cafes, cinemas, hotels. I would recommend you a breakfast or having tea/coffee in Uskudar coast to taste the great peaceful moments. Also, north shore beaches of Istanbul; Agva and Sile will be close to you, as mentioned at “Sea, Beach and Sun in Agva and Sile” article. Of course there are more to do that I can even tell right now but I prefer to keep them for another post :)

How to reach to / from Sabiha Gokcen Airport

There are many ways for transportation from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to main locations such as Sultanahmet, Taksim, Eminönü (Sirkeci), Beyazıt (Laleli), Esenler, Harem, Bakırköy,Tuzla by taxi, Havas Services or the public bus services (IETT).

  • Depends on the arrival times, HAVAS regulate shuttle services from airport to Taksim, Kozyatagi and Kadikoy as well as the services from those locations to the airport. For detailed information (timetable, ticket fee…), you may visit HAVAS web site.
  • Public transportation buses are available close to international terminal exit door. Ticket fee is real cheap. You may pay the fee to bus driver.

E3- 4.LEVENT- SABIHA GOKCEN AIRPORT (Click here for learning time table and detailed information),

E10- KADIKOY- KURTKOY-SABIHA GÖKÇEN AIRPORT (Click here for learning time table and detailed information),

16S- S.GÖKÇEN HAVAALANI- YENISEHIR- KOZYATAGI(Click here for learning timetable and detailed information),

E9- BOSTANCI- SABİHA GÖKCEN (Click here for learning timetable and detailed information).

  • Taxi are available just outside the airport but it would be expensive if you headed to European side of Istanbul because of the long drive.
  • Car rental is another way but it would be too courageous to drive in Istanbul if your first visit :)

In conclusion, I would recommend you to choose Sabiha Gokcen Airport if you are going to stay and do something in asian side of  Istanbul. It is a modern and convenient international airport.

If you have any “how to reach” questions as well as others, don’t hesitate to ask below.


  1. ali says:

    You are welcome Heidi, happy to hear that.

  2. erin says:

    I am travelling to Istanbul on business nest year and posts like this are a great help thanks very much and keep them coming.

  3. carmel says:

    I am travelling to Istanbul in the New Year for a short break, its so great to come across a comprehensive post like this to make my journey more smooth.

  4. Coskun Toktamis says:

    Ingiltere/Stansted ile SAW arasindaki ucak seferlerini yapan
    en cok hangi Airline var ve time-table bulmakta gucluk cekiyorum.
    Direkt olarak bana ber web site gonderebilir misiniz???
    2011 sesinde gelmek istiyorum.

    • ali says:

      Merhabalar Coşkun Bey,
      Londra, Stansted ve Sabiha Gokcen havaalanı arasında Türk Hava Yolları (, Pegasus ( ve Germanwings ( şirketlerinin seferleri var. Pek çok havayolunun ise Ataturk havalanına var. Bu şirketlerin kendi sitelerine girerek istediğiniz zamanlarda var mı yok mu görebilirsiniz. Rica ederiz.
      Hello Mr. Coskun,
      Turkish Airlines, Pegasus and germanwings airlines have flights between Stansted,Londra and Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Istanbul. And many other have between Ataturk airport and STN. You can easily see the flight info on the companies’ web-sites. You are welcome.

  5. Leo John Quiachon says:


    I would like to know how far is Sabiha Gokcen Int. Airport to our booked hotel (Star Holiday Hotel with address in: Divanyolu Caddesi No:10 Sultanahmet – Istanbul – Turkiye ).What public transportation we could take, how long it will take and how much does it cost?? Thanks for any help you could give us.


    Leo John Quiachon

  6. admin says:

    Dear Quiachon,
    This airport is in Asian side and your hotel is in European side.
    The cheapest way to reach to your hotel from Sabiha gokcen Airport is to take the municipal bus E-10 from the airport to Kadikoy (4 TL), take the ferry from Kadikoy to Eminonu (2 TL) and take the tram from Eminonu to either Gulhane or Sultanahmet stops (2 TL). Your hotel is in short walking distance. Yes, it will take time but you would see city as well. Or, you can google for airport shuttles going to Sultanahmet and book before arriving. Enjoy your time in Istanbul!

Speak Your Mind