Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (IATA: SAW, ICAO: LTFJ) is one of the two international airports serving İstanbul, Turkey. The facility is named after Sabiha Gökçen, the first female combat pilot in Turkey. Located 35 km (22 mi) southeast of central İstanbul, it is on the Asian side of the bi-continental city and serves as the hub for Pegasus Airlines as well as a base for Turkish Airlines and Borajet.

The airport was built because Atatürk International Airport (on the European side) was not large enough to meet the booming passenger demands (both domestic and international). In June 2007, Turkish conglomerate Limak Holding, India's GMR Group and Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad (MAHB) consortium gained the contract for upgrading and maintaining the airport. In mid-2008, ground was broken to upgrade the international terminal to handle 25 million passengers annually. The new terminal was inaugurated on 31 October 2009.

SAW's international terminal capacity originally was 3 million passengers per year and the domestic terminal capacity was 0.5 million passengers per year. In 2010, Sabiha Gökçen airport handled 11,129,472 passengers, a 71% increase compared to 2009. The airport is planning to host 25 million passengers by 2023.

In September 2010, the airport was voted the World's Best Airport at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London and received the award. The other awards received by the airport in 2010 were: Turkey’s Most Successful Tourism Investment 2010, the highly commended award from Routes Europe and the airport is honored with Airport Traffic Growth Award by Airline News & Network Analysis web site anna.aero.