Company Insight

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW)- The Story Continues

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) has come a long way since its opening. Started off as a domestic airport back in 2001; serving over 10 routes, today it boasts as it is serving over 150 routes, both international and domestic.


In 2019, SAW has hosted 35.5 million passengers which equals to 4% of growth compared to 2018 making itself the 3rd busiest airport in Turkey. This was driven by the strong 21% growth of international traffic, supported by new airlines, new international routes especially Middle East markets and frequency increases of existing airlines.

SAW remains the busiest airport in terms of domestic traffic, providing frequent connectivity to 37 domestic destinations. These wide connectivity developments over the last 11 years has made SAW the leading airport in terms of direct connectivity growth which translated as an impressive growth of 538%.

Further to this, SAW was also recognized as the “Large Airport of the Year” at 2019 CAPA Global Aviation Awards for Excellence. This accomplishment of SAW has been one of the standouts, establishing itself as a leader both with its sustainable growth and development in the industry.

SAW was selected for its sustainable passenger traffic, following a decade of very high growth, in the face of the opening of a brand new, capacity-unconstrained airport across the city, increasing passenger capacity in 2018 and air movements in 2019, and holding cargo capacity at its second-highest level in six years.

“We are deeply honored to receive this award from CAPA. It’s a recognition of our remarkable growth story.” said Ersel Göral, CEO, SAW. "The significance of this award also coincides with the 10th year since the opening of SAW’s new terminal, where traffic has grown more than six times, serving over 200 million passengers since then,” he added.

Watch the video of an Elettric80 system equipped with Flash Battery lithium batteries

Ersel Göral, CEO of SAW receiving the award at CAPA Global Aviation Awards for Excellence

In 2019, among the major airports category, SAW came out as the top airport in terms of “On Time Performance” by OAG. This is another recognition for SAW, operating on a single runway and single terminal, all under one roof. This is a testament of how far the airport has come through, especially over a decade, SAW grew its passenger numbers with a remarkable average of 25% annually therefore moving itself up into the category of large airport.

On the other hand, SAW has also been taken the necessary steps in terms of their environmental sustainability agenda. Earlier this year, SAW has been certified with Gold LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by USA Green Building Council. Becoming one of the few LEED certified airports in the world, SAW is the first ever airport within the country to gain this recognition in gold level. Although, airports are often perceived as not eco-friendly by nature, SAW with its environmentally conscious vision and eco-friendly implementations aims to reduce the carbon-footprint, distinguishing itself from others within the sector. Comfortable indoor environment, high incidence of energy, water and raw material savings are among the criteria LEED certification system evaluates. “Now holding LEED in hand, we are aiming to increase the energy efficiency by 30 percent, reducing the usage of natural gas and carbon-emission by 30 percent. In addition to these initiatives, our airport aims to be more effective on saving water by 25 percent.” Ersel Göral added.

The next phase of development of SAW includes a 2nd runway of 3500m x 60m length, and a new terminal, which is expected to kick off sometime this year. The new terminal project will consist of a 192,675 m² terminal building and subsequently up to 2 satellite buildings of 43,126m². This project also includes a new car park with the capacity of 5,723 parking lot. Upon the completion of these developments, SAW is expected to double its capacity, will be able to handle over 65 million passengers.

Already playing a significant role in Turkey’s aviation landscape, serving as the city airport of one of the most reputable cities in the world, SAW with its continued growth has been taking firm steps forward to become one of the leading airports worldwide.

For further information and collaboration, please contact our dedicated marketing team by email.

ISG Aviation Marketing Team

 High-density seating makes more floor space available while providing up to 50% more seats. There’s more space for commercial traffic and far less congestion at gates.

Name, description

Contact details

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport

Bailey Barber
Marketing Manager, Ground Support Equipment
Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc.

Tel: +90 216 588 80 00

Fax: +49 9181 896-1115

Share this article