One of two international airports serving Istanbul, Sabiha Gokcen Airport sees tens of millions of passengers every year. It is a critical base for Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Borajet.
With 26 airlines serving hundreds of destinations, Sabiha Gokcen isn’t the Turkish capital’s largest airport, but it still serves as a critical connection between Istanbul and many European and Middle Eastern cities, from Amsterdam to Cairo, Mykonos to Dubai. Though it doesn’t match Ataturk Airport’s passenger traffic, it is the second busiest single-runway airport in the world.
The Havatas Airport Bus connects the airport to Kadikoy ferry dock and Taksim Square. Buses depart to both destinations every 30 minutes. Taxis are also readily available, but travel time varies widely depending on traffic. The ride to Istanbul’s centre could take anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours.
The airport is named for Turkey’s first female combat pilot, Sabiha Gokcen. Trained in the late 1930s, the aviator earned her fame as a fighter pilot at the age of 23. She was the adopted daughter of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s founder and first president and incidentally, the namesake of Istanbul’s other international airport.