Istanbul Airport ( Atatόrk Internationa l) is the major international airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Located in Yesilkoy, on the European side of the city, AtatόrkInternational Airport is 9 miles southwest of the city centre. Atatόrk International Airport is named in honor of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic.
There are two terminals, one domestic and one international. Inaugurated in 2001, the international terminal is considered one of the most efficient and modern terminals in the world. Before the new terminal opened, a single terminal handled both domestic and international traffic and was very crowded. The domestic terminal, now relieved of international traffic, is spacious, despite its 1970s design.
Atatόrk International Airport terminals are operated by TAV (Tepe-Akfen-Ventures) since January 2000, who has invested 600 Million US$ since 1998. In 2005 TAV has won the concession agreement to operate the Ataturk for 15.5 years at a record breaking amount of 3 Billion US$, which also represents the highest figure for such a privatization project in Turkey, Eastern Europe, Middle East, CIS and North Africa.
Atatόrk International Airport still faces capacity issues; it ranks somewhere between thirty-first and fortieth in the world by cargo traffic and handled over 573,000 tonnes of cargo traffic in 2004 and was expected to handle 615,000 tonnes of cargo in 2005.
In terms of passenger traffic, Atatόrk International Airport had 15.6 million passengers in 2004, 10.2 million of whom were international travelers. It is expected to have 20 million passengers in 2005, 12.5 million of whom will be international. That means that Atatόrk will a nearly thirty percent increase in passenger traffic and a nearly twenty-five percent increase in international passenger traffic.
Atatόrk International Airport’s rated capacity of 14 million international passengers per year and 7 million domestic passengers per year will not be enough for the demand in 2006. Istanbul is expected to have a demand of 30 million international passengers per year and 20 million domestic passengers per year by 2010.
Atatόrk International Airport shares traffic with Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, which is on the Asian side of Istanbul. The two airports both provide domestic and international service to the Istanbul area, but booming passenger demands (as well as the physical impossibility of expanding Ataturk) suggest that a 4th airport will be required by 2007, as the Hezarfen Airport is not big enough to support international flights. This new airport is planned to be located north of Istanbul in Kemerburgaz which is close to the Levent business district.