New Istanbul Airport Finally Ramping up to Full Operation – Check Your Flights!

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The opening of a new airport is always an adventure! Istanbul’s new airport is no different… Although it was due to fully open in October, 2018 – as I wrote about here – the airport has only been operating a handful of domestic and European flights for Turkish Airlines. But it appears that Turkish Airlines (obviously the major airline) has finally committed to “the Great Move”!  The airline will transfer its operations from the old Ataturk airport to the new Istanbul airport on 6 April, 2019.

In order to facilitate the move, a number of flights will be cancelled. In typical, unhelpful Turkish Airlines fashion, booked passengers are advised to check their flight status online, except you can only check flight status two days into the future. So you are best advised to check your booking reference details, to see whether anything has changed. If your flight has been cancelled, here are your rights:

Passenger rights for cancelled flights

The changes and refund of ticket can be done under the following circumstances:

  1. You can change or receive ticket refunds for your domestic tickets, and unused and unchanged international tickets before the time of your scheduled flight on our web site and updated mobile application.
  2. Changes to ticket can be made for a time of your choice, if available, 7 days before and 15 days after the date of travel written on the original ticket. The changes can be made via our web site, updated mobile application, call center, sales offices or the travel agency which issued the ticket.
  3. Ticket refunds can be made via our web site, an updated version of our mobile application, our call center, our sales offices or travel agencies from which the ticket was purchased. Refunds of tickets after the time of your scheduled flight that are paid for, can be made within a period of two years beginning with the date of issuance while tickets purchased with miles can be refunded within one year through our sales office and call center.


What About Other Airlines?

If you are planning to fly to Istanbul on British Airways (or another airline) in early April, you will want to pay attention to your booking. Although I haven’t seen any details filtering out, it is possible that foreign airlines might be forced to suspend travel to Istanbul for a day or two, as they themselves manage the transfer of staff and equipment to the new Istanbul airport. There is little chance that foreign airlines will be allowed to continue operating to the far more convenient Ataturk airport whilst the national airline is out at the new Istanbul airport…


If you are risk averse about new airports, you will want to avoid Istanbul in April (and potentially beyond).  If you are an #avgeek who wants to try a new airport / lounge as soon as possible after opening, then you have a couple of weeks to make your arrangements!


  1. CrisC says

    Knowing Istanbul, it will be a nightmare to come from the new airport to the center.
    SAW now will become more accessible then.

    • Pangolin says

      Yeah, it looks like it will be horrendous getting to the centre from that location. It puts me off IST until there are some decent connection options to the city centre. I don’t know why they had to shift everything before there were proper public transport links.

      How long is it going to take for there to be a metro?

      • Joe Deeney says

        Aye, looks like a potential nightmare. That said, I’m not going to believe any ‘official’ dates set for the move until it’s actually happened…

  2. Beppo says

    I would be fine with a mere transit at the new airport but would rather wait for the actual move before hitting the pay button on Turkish.

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