New airport for increasing traffic


The New Istanbul Airport was opened in 2019 and has quickly become the busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger traffic with more than 64 million passengers in 2022. The construction of the New Istanbul Airport was an enormous financial undertaking, costing over 10 billion Euros, demonstrating Turkey’s commitment to modernizing its transportation infrastructure.

This airport is designed for the long haul, with a potential capacity to serve more than 200 million passengers every year once it reaches full operation. This makes it one of the world’s busiest airports, highlighting Turkey’s role as an important global travel and trade centre. The New Istanbul Airport is expected to have a profound economic influence. It is anticipated to make a substantial contribution to Turkey’s GDP. Additionally, it generates thousands of job opportunities directly and indirectly.

The satellite map shows the huge impact of the airport on the landscape. Located about 30 kilometres northwest of the city centre, the new airport has replaced forests and agricultural land on an area of almost 40 square kilometres. Additionally, the road network serving the airport was enhanced substantially.


  • Satellite Map:
    • Look at the overview satellite image from 2023 and try to identify city areas, forests, and agricultural land.
    • Have a look at the special situation of Istanbul between Asia and Europe and think about its role e.g. in long-distance trade.
    • Which airports can you identify at this scale? Zoom into the image and continue your search.
    • Zoom out again and deselect the overview satellite image. Add the detail views from 2010, 2017, and 2023 one by one and describe the changes. Zoom to the airport area displayed in the detail views.
    • Try to give an estimation of the area directly affected by the new airport.
    • Discuss possible impacts of the airport to the local population. Which advantages and disadvantages to you expect?
    • How does the New Istanbul Airport’s strategic location improve global connectivity, and what societal benefits does this connectivity bring to Istanbul and Turkey?
  • EO Browser:
    • Open the EO Browser.
    • Find the most recent Sentinel-2 dataset covering the area displayed in the satellite map.
    • Select a natural colour representation.
    • Can you identify additional, recent changes in the area? In how far do you think could they be related to the new airport?
    • Select the false colour infrared representation. Can you identify the land-use of the most intensely vegetated areas (represented by bright red colours)?

Links and Sources

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