Istanbul airports will exceed 100 million passengers this year

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The two airports of the Turkish city (Istanbul Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW)) complement each other, mainly aimed respectively at passengers transferring via regular airlines and passengers on airlines low-cost.

Certainly, Istanbul will join the select club of cities that handle at least 100 million passengers per year.

The club is relatively small

The 100 million pax club would include Atlanta, Bangkok, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Tokyo. Not everyone will remain in this ranking in 2023…

Istanbul airports have already seen nearly 80 million passengers pass through in 2023

The two airports serving Istanbul collectively welcomed 78.6 million passengers in the nine months ended September 30, 2023, an increase of 17.8% year-on-year.

The total at Istanbul’s main airport (IST), on the western (European) side of the city and which replaced Atatürk Airport in 2019, was 58.0 million (+21.7% year-on-year ), while at Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) on the eastern (Asian) side, the growth level was +22.7% year-on-year, to 27.7 million.

Istanbul’s new airport opened in 2019

It recorded growth of 52% on average (2021/2022/January-August-2023).

Traffic at the two existing airports includes point-to-point and transfer traffic. Transfers represent a larger share of business at IST, which is the home base of Turkish Airlines. Total number of passengers could reach 115 million in 2023

If these growth rates continue through the remainder of 2023, this would suggest that IST will end 2023 with over 78 million passengers and SAW with over 37 million, for a total of around 115 million.

Turkish Airlines is predominant

IST is primarily an international airport (79.0% of capacity), and the leading airline, by far, in terms of capacity metric is Turkish Airlines, with 79.9%. This predominance rises to 98.9% on domestic flights (as close to a monopoly as any airline of its stature).

Destinations served from Istanbul Airport

Source: CAPA – Aviation Center and OAG

Comparison of cities and their airports holding the “100 million” title, number of passengers and year of obtaining the title given by Center of Aviation

City and airports The number of passengers expected in calendar year 2023, based on the growth rate of the first eight months of 2023 Year in which 100mppareached for the first time
Beijing(Capital & Daxing) 52,685,000 2018 (Capital only)
London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, City, Luton, Southend) 177,500,000 Before 2009
Paris (Charles de Gaulle, Orly, Beauvais) 105,159,650 2016
New York (JF Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty) 148,641,164 Before 2008
Chicago (O’Hare, Midway) 98,061,253 2016
The Angels (International, Long Beach, John Wayne Orange County, Hollywood-Burbank, Ontario) 104,712,698 2016
Tokyo (Haneda, Narita, Ibaraki) 111,417,436 2013
Dubai(International, Al Maktoum) * 105,579,860
Atlanta(Hartsfield) 105,786,543 2015
Moscow (Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo, Zhukovsky) No calculable figure due to lack of precise data 2019
Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang) 63,009,000 2017

Data source: CAPA

Catherine Mills Avatar