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*as of 2018 before moving of commercial airline traffic to IST

Spotting Locations Map

Airport Information

Full Name
Istanbul Atatürk International Airport

IATA: ISL (former code: IST)

17L/35R 3000 m Asphalt
17R/35L 3000 m Asphalt
05/23 2850 m Grooved Asphalt

Statistics (2018)
Passengers: 63.727 mln
Aircraft Operations: nd

Hub for
Onur Air*
Turkish Airlines*
MNG Airlines
Turkish Airlines Cargo
*as of 2018 before moving of commercial airline traffic to IST

*as of 2018 before moving of commercial airline traffic to IST
Aegean Airlines
Afriqiyah Airways
Air Algerie
Air Astana
Air France
Air Moldova
Asiana Airlines
ATA Airlines
AtlasGlobal Ukraine
Azerbaijan Airlines
British Airways
Buraq Air
Etihad Airways
Ghadames Air Transport
Gulf Air
Iran Air
Iran Airtour
Iran Aseman Airlines
Iraqi Airways
Jazeera Airways
Kam Air
Korean Air
Kuwait Airways
Libyan Airlines
LOT Polish Airlines
Mahan Air
Meraj Airlines
Middle East Airlines
Oman Air
Onur Air
Pegasus Airlines
Qatar Airways
Qeshm Airlines
Rossiya Airlines
Royal Air Maroc
Royal Jordanian
SCAT Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Somon Air
Taban Air
Tajik Air
Turkish Airlines
Turkmenistan Airlines
Ukraine International Airlines
Uzbekistan Airways
Zagros Airlines

Air Algérie Cargo
Air France Cargo
ASL Airlines Belgium
DHL Aviation
EgyptAir Cargo
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo
FedEx Express
Hong Kong Airlines
Iran Air Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo
MNG Airlines
MyCargo Airlines
Royal Jordanian Cargo
Qatar Airways Cargo
Silk Way Airlines
Turkish Airlines Cargo
ULS Airlines Cargo
UPS Airlines
Uzbekistan Airways

Until October 2018 Ataturk Airport was the main airport of Istanbul and major airport in in Turkey. The airport located in the European side of the city 24 km west from the downtown. In 2018 it was 11th busiest airport in the world by the number of passengers, 5th largest airport in Europe and 10th busiest in the world in terms of international passengers. Ataturk Airport also had the most number of international flights and destinations. In April 2019 Ataturk Airport was replaced in regards to commercial airline traffic by the newly constructed Istanbul Airport. On April 6 2019 the final commercial flight left Ataturk Airport. The IST IATA code was also inherited by new Istanbul Airport, and Ataturk was assigned the code ISL. Since April 2019 the airport serves only cargo, maintenance, general aviation, air taxis, business flights and state and diplomatic aircrafts. Ataturk airport has excellent spotting locations, but the spotting opportunities is now limited mainly to cargo traffic.

1912: airfield was built in Yeşilköy neighborhood for military purposes
1953: Airport is opened as Yeşilköy Airport
1972: Second runway was constructed
1980s: Airport was renamed in honour of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey.
2000: New terminal complex opened
2014: Construction of new Istanbul Airport started
2018, 29 October: new Istanbul Airport inaugurated.
2019, 6 April: all airline traffic moved from Ataturk to new Istanbul Airport. IST code replaced by ISL

Istanbul Ataturk Airport has two passenger terminals, now defunct. International and Domestic terminals are linked to each other. There is also a general aviation Terminal to the northwest of the passenger terminals, and cargo Terminal east of the passenger terminals.

Runway usage
Two parallel runways 17/35 may be used simultaneously for takeoffs from one runway and landings to another. Third runway 05/23 is used in pair with one of 17/35.

Spotting locations

1. FlyInn Shopping Mall
40,973058; 28,804640
Most popular spotting location is the shopping mall west from the airport. On the second level it has the café with balcony facing 17/35 runways, apron and taxiways. You can get there by taxi from the city or from the airport. Be prepared to go through security control at the entry of the shopping mall.

2. International Terminal Departure, airside zone
40,977576; 28,823776
Big windows of the former International Terminal provide a good view on runway 05/23 and adjacent taxiways. Unfortunately this location is unavailable now because the Terminal is defunct.

3. Florya Park East
40,960918; 28,805894
Points 3 and 4 are located in the Florya Park stretched along the sea shore. You can easily find a good point to watch activities at 05 in the morning.

4. Florya Park West
40,965080; 28,797291
For good locations to watch 05 landings or takeoffs in the afternoon go west from point 3 along the embankment.

Plane spottting in Turkey is the normal activity and usually there are no problems with police or security unless you get too close to airport fence.

Example Photo Galleries

Spotting Location 1 – FlyInn Shopping Mall

Location 1 Galleris

20161029-ISL: Istanbul Ataturk Airport

20161107b-ISL: Istanbul Ataturk Airport

20161107c-ISL: Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Spotting Location 2 – International Terminal Departure, airside zone

Location 2 Galleries

20161029-ISL: Istanbul Ataturk Airport

20161107e-ISL: Istanbul Ataturk Airport