Well it looks like the dates are really and truly set- the new Istanbul Airport will take over flight operations from the old -Ataturk Istanbul Airport starting on 6th of April.
If you have a Turkey tour, or are traveling to Turkey and connecting at the airport -you are forewarned that between 6th and 8th April the flights and airport operations will see significant delays. So plan ahead for extra time in transit and arriving and departing.
Also, our friends at Turkish airlines have given us the following information:
Starting from 03:00 AM on the 6th of April the new airport – Istanbul Airport – will take over the IST airport code. And the old airport – Istanbul Ataturk Airport – will take over the new ISL airport code. So to clarify the old IST airport code will transfer to the new airport and the new ISL airport code (used as of 25 March 2019 for the new airport) will be transferred to the old Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Confused yet?
If your flights are before 6 April or after 8th or 9th -the key thing is that the main airport will always be using the code IST – only the ‘main’ airport will be moving from Istanbul Ataturk Airport to Istanbul airport.
Oh fyi -the old airport which was on the tram/metro line and only 35 minutes from the historic Sultanahmet peninsula by taxi, is much closer than the new airport – which will be at least 1 hour by taxi to the Sultanahmet historic area. Also the new airport won’t be connected to the Istanbul metro network until 2020.
So again IST will remain the main code for flights to European side. But the new airport and the SAW – Sabiha Gokcen Airport will now be about the same distance from the touristic area of Sultanahmet.