Connecting in Istanbul This Fall Could Be a Problem

Sep 18, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Istanbul has long been scheduled to replace its current main airport, Atatürk Airport, with a new — aptly called Istanbul New Airport —on October 29. The transition between airports, both of which are planned to use the IATA airport code IST, was set to be a spectacle with all operations moving from one airport to the other within 48 hours. Picture aircraft tugs, maintenance vehicles, airport equipment and staff traveling 24 miles on public roads from one airport to the other. It was going to be such an event that TPG planned to send multiple people to cover the mass migration.

But, just over a month before the massive transition, a Turkish site reported that Turkish Airlines has decided to move just 20 to 30 of its 277 aircraft to New Airport on October 29. The New Airport will still open on October 29, but Turkish will continue to operate most of its flights through Atatürk Airport due to concerns the new airport might not be completely ready. Supposedly, only Turkish Airlines flights with no connection — a vague formulation — will be flown to or from New Airport until operations are fully transitioned sometime before the end of December.

This plan seems somewhat reasonable on the surface. But, I foresee several operating issues. TPG has reached out to Turkish Airlines for comment, but didn’t receive a response before publishing. In particular, I expect the following issues:

  • Both airports planned to use IATA airport code IST; what will the new, presumably temporary, IATA airport code be for New Airport?
  • What routes are non-connecting and hence will be operated from New Airport beginning October 29? Presumably all of Turkish Airlines’ flights could have connecting passengers, and many likely already have bookings from connecting passengers, so I have trouble seeing what flights could be operated from New Airport.
  • At what point will passengers be informed whether their flight will arrive into or depart out of Atatürk Airport or New Airport? The airports are 24 miles apart and some passengers will want to book hotels near the airport before or after their flights, so this information should be announced in advance.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 08: An aerial view of the newly constructed Istanbul New Airport is seen as construction works are still ongoing to be ready for opening ceremony of the first complex on 29th October, in Istanbul, Turkey on August 08, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An aerial view of the new airport under construction taken in August 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

 

I hope the transition to Istanbul New Airport goes well — but given the delays in construction and staggered transition of operations, I have my doubts. As such, barring any concrete information from Turkish Airlines regarding the transition, I’d recommend avoiding any connections in Istanbul until operations are fully transitioned to Istanbul’s New Airport. If you do decide to connect in Istanbul, be sure to book your flights with a credit card that offers good trip delay protections.

H/T: AirportHaber via One Mile At A Time

Featured image: An aerial view of Istanbul New Airport during construction work on August 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.