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Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW)- The City Airport of Istanbul

Located 40km away from the city centre, SAW is well positioned to be the city airport of Istanbul following the recent opening of the new Istanbul Airport as well as the closure of Atatürk International Airport. Its well connectedness and direct accessibility via metro in June next year together with its on going developments (2nd runway, new terminal), SAW is poised to play a significant role in Turkey’s aviation landscape.

SAW was the sole greenfield commercial airport to be built in Istanbul over the last 70 years in 2001. Since then, passenger volume has grown more than 10 times. Today, it handles over 35 million passengers annually, making it Turkey’s 2nd and Europe’s 12th busiest airport. SAW provides connectivity to over 150 international and domestic destinations. The fast growth in passenger volume achieved by SAW resulted with several recognitions by the industry which includes being Europe’s fastest growing airport for 7 consecutive years between 2009 and 2015.

Over the next few years, SAW is expected to increase its passenger volume as it continues to serve the catchment area of over 20 million population located within 2 hours of driving distance. 4 of the most developed industrial cities sit within this 2 hours driving distance, making SAW an important cargo and logistic hub.

With the booming growth, the key question is how did SAW cope with all these in a short period of time?

“As a traveller, we often look for the most convenient way to travel, ensuring that we reach the destination as quick and easy. With the growing demand for air travel, the impact of airports on entire travel experience is extremely important, especially airport being the first touch point for a traveller or a tourist. SAW’s vision has been to provide seamless and inspiring airport experience to all customers. Therefore, SAW has upgraded several of it’s terminal facilities to cope with the rapid growth, in particular screening machines, baggage handling, passport e-gates for local citizens transfer counters, self bag drop and terminal way finding system. In fact, SAW is one of the first airport in Turkey to introduce the passport e-gates facilities to ease bottlenecks at the border control” says Ersel Göral, CEO of SAW.

These upgrades coupled with the fact that is both international and domestic terminals are under one roof, makes SAW an efficient and user-friendly airport. This enables passengers to have a minimum connecting time as well as a short walking distance within the terminal.

As Göral also added that, “part of airport’s future expansion program, the smart use of technology will maximize our infrastructure. It will also provide our passengers with a world-class experience and support our airline customers in managing their operations more efficiently. At the same time, beyond just Pegasus, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Emirates, we hope to attract more larger network carriers such as the likes of British Airways, KLM, Etihad, Saudia, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Easyjet in the coming years.”

Ersel Göral, CEO of SAW

With these developments, Göral and his team realises that its a matter of time for a dream to come true “to make SAW leader in it’s airport category as well as it becoming the preferred city airport of Istanbul”.

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