Annually Turkey welcomes more than 30 million tourists and that number is rising all the time. By 2023, they plan to be one of the top countries in the world for tourism. One method, they implemented to achieve this, is modernization of all major airports to handle passenger traffic as smoothly and efficiently as possible. A majority of people enter Turkey via numerous airports, and domestic flights are more popular than ever thanks to the cheap prices and frequent schedules of Turkish airline companies.
Although services of airports have improved in the last 10 years, one frequent complaint that seems to arise constantly is about the price of food and drink in airport cafes and restaurant. Other than that, using Turkish airports is generally a hassle-free experience.
Istanbul has two airports. Open since 1924, Ataturk is the biggest airport in Turkey and used for international and domestic flights. It has four terminals and despite its size, still struggles to accommodate the growing number of passengers passing through.
Since there is no more room to build upon, construction of a new airport has begun, which is predicted to be the biggest in the world, therefore taking the main bulk of traffic away from Ataturk airport. Sabiha Gokcen is the second airport of Istanbul, although handling a few international flights; it is mainly used for domestic and business travel.
Other Airports in Turkey
Antalya airport on the Mediterranean coast, that has a reputation for an efficient and smooth service, deals with more than 25 million passengers a year. From here to the city centre, the transfer time is less than an hour, while other resorts such as Alanya, Belek, Kemer and Side can normally be reached within 2 hours.
A short distance up the coastline is Gazipasa Airport that was designed to take pressure off the main Antalya airport by servicing the areas surrounding Alanya. Despite finishing construction in 1999, it did not open for domestic flights until 2011 and for international flights in 2013. The international flights are seasonal, and limited so for many the first choice is still Antalya.
The other major airport on the Mediterranean coast is Dalaman, situated in the Southwest Mugla province and typically servicing the areas of Marmaris, Dalyan and Fethiye. Open for international and domestic flights, the last renovation cost more than 150,000,000 USD. Average transfer times from Dalaman airport to the Fethiye region are 1 to 2 hours, while to Marmaris; it is 1.5 hours if using a private shuttle service.
On the Aegean coast, the most commonly used airport for seasonal holidaymakers is Bodrum airport, situated in the Milas region, 36 kilometres away from the town centre. Used during summer for international flights, but also operating domestically all year round, it services most Aegean coastal resorts including Altinkum (1.5 hour transfer time) and Kusadasi (2 hour transfer time.)
Lastly, Izmir also known as Adnan Menderes airport is the fourth busiest in Turkey and mainly services the Izmir region of which the city is the third largest in Turkey. Located in the Gaziemir area of Izmir, it operates international and domestic flights, although holidaymakers during summer tend to use Bodrum airport. In March 2014, it opened a new domestic terminal and also has the added advantage for short transfer times of being close to the main city bus station and railway network.