Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is on the Anatolian shore of Istanbul.
Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is one of two key airports in Istanbul, Turkey.
The airport was developed as a Greenfield project.

Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, on the Anatolian shore of Istanbul, is one of two key airports in Istanbul, Turkey. The airport was developed as a greenfield project. It was named after the Turkey’s first woman combat pilot.

The airport is about 12km from Pendik on the Asian side and about 40km from Taksim. The airport offers its services to 28 countries through 40 airlines covering 68 destinations. The domestic capacity of the airport is 1.5 million passengers a year and international capacity is 3 million a year.

Sabiha Gokcen airport has two domestic terminals, A and B, and one international terminal. Construction of a new terminal on the west of the existing domestic building was completed and the airport was inaugurated on 31 October 2009, a year ahead of schedule. Commercial operations began on 9 November 2009.

Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport Investment Development and Operations (ISG) was formed as a consortium of Limak Holding of Turkey (40%), GMR Group of India (40%) and Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (20%) in May 2008.

ISG has acquired the right to operate the airport as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project for 20 years.

“The airport was developed as a greenfield project.”

ISG has developed the new terminal over an area of 320,000m2.

The group will also be responsible for managing the existing terminal buildings, car parks, ground handling, cargo, aircraft refuelling operations, duty free, food and beverages areas, and airport hotel.

It is expected that a new 60m-wide runway will be constructed in 2012, after which the airport will be able to host A380 planes.

New surveillance system

In August 2008 Sabiha Airport announced that it would install a new video surveillance system known as Pelco Endura 2.0 IP video.

The surveillance system, consisting of more than 1,300 cameras including 900 Sarix megapixel units, will feature RAID6 disk management, Endura 2.0’s failover recording and an auto back focus capability for Sarix cameras.

For recording, 60 NSM5200 series network storage managers will be in service.

Terminal expansion

“The new terminal is a significant step in the Advanced Technology Industrial Park and Airport Project.”

The demand for international and domestic flights in Turkey continues to increase. The number of airline passengers was 33.5 million in 2002 and reached 70.4 million in 2007. The two main airports in Istanbul, Sabiha Gokcen and Istanbul Ataturk Airport, were unable to cater for the increasing passenger numbers, so the need for expanded capacity arose to meet this new demand.

The development of the new terminal is a significant step in the Advanced Technology Industrial Park and Airport Project, which aims to provide transportation, foreign trade, aviation and technology services to Turkey and make the region a technology base.

With the new terminal, which opened in October 2009, Sabiha Gokcen Airport’s passenger capacity will reach 25 million a year and 42 million passengers in the next 20 years. The terminal building is designed by Dogan Tekeli Sisa Mimarlik Ofisi, maximising daylight and providing an environmentally friendly atmosphere.

ISG acquired operational rights at Sabiha by submitting a Є1.9bn bid in May 2008. It has initially paid Є1.932bn and is expected to invest an aggregate of Є450m in the new terminal.

New terminal features

The new terminal features a four-storey car parking space for about 4,718 vehicles and 72 buses. The parking facility was completed and has been operational since April 2009. A three storey hotel will be built next to the terminal with separate entrances at air and ground sides. The terminal will also feature a 400m2 conference centre and 5,000m2 food court.

“The cargo unit of ground handling services at the airport covers 7,500m² and is operational at all times.”

A duty-free shopping area covering 4,500m2 with international-standard shops will be developed in the terminal, forming Europe’s second-largest duty-free shopping area. In July 2008 it was announced that retail facilities at the terminal’s duty-free shopping area would be operated by SETUR Servis Turistik for the next 20 years. SETUR also operates the duty-free operations at the airport’s existing terminal.

The retail services will cover 3,300m2 in departures and 1,200m2 in the arrivals area. A new multi-parking system will service eight aircraft with large fuselages or 16 middle-sized fuselage aircraft with IATA code C.

There are 112 check-in and 24 online check-in counters at the new terminal.

Existing terminal features

The existing international flight terminal, which covers 20,000m2, has an annual capacity of 3 million passengers a year. CIP lounges, duty-free shops, restaurants, offices and banks are some of the facilities available.

The domestic terminal comprises sections for check-in processes, luggage services, passenger departures and arrivals. It also features a 2,000m2 utilisation area, cafeteria, and cargo terminal.

Airport facilities

The facilities provided at the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport include baggage handling, ground handling, aircraft maintenance, flight safety, and general aviation. Duty-free shops and other facilities such as baby-care rooms in the departures lounges are also available.

The airport also features VIP and CIP (Commercial Important Person) lounges, and catering services by Turkish Do&CO and LSG sky Chefs/Sancak.

A business centre service is available in the CIP (commercially important person) lounge, where passengers have access to two seating areas, computers, telephones, fax machines and internet.


The cargo unit of ground handling services at the airport covers 7,500m2 and is operational at all times.

“Ground handling, fuel management and terminal management will be analysed to reduce environment impact.”

A direct NATO pipeline of 73km is connected from a refinery with jet fuel capacity of 15,000m2. Fuel can be supplied for 22 planes at a time via a hydrant line. Hydraulic ramps with the ability to unload five vehicles at a time are available at the cargo unit.

The storage cargo services at the airport are provided through separate units for export and import cargo. The export cargo unit, equipped with a modern X-ray security machine, covers an area of more than 1,250m2. The X-ray devices have a high penetration capacity and are capable of scanning large items.

The export cargo unit also has three cold storage depots.

The import cargo unit consists of two warehouses, six cold storage depots, special sections for restricted goods and secured divisions for hazardous substances. The warehouses are equipped with a shelving system and radio frequency barcode placement systems.


Sabiha Gokcen Airport follows international security principles and standards for security measures.

Narcotics and explosive trace-detection and identification systems, and high-technology equipment, are employed to aid passenger, luggage and cargo control.

Environmental impact

The airport facilities comply with national environmental legislation and follow international regulations.

An environmental and social impact assessment report was prepared under the consultancy of DEGOL in 2008.

Ground handling, fuel management and terminal management activities will be analysed to reduce their environment impact. Waste source control and its disposal are in accordance with rules. The airport also provides occasional training to create more environmental awareness.