Providing service in Istanbul, the intersection of Asia, Europe and the Middle East, the Istanbul Airport serves as one of the world's most significant aviation hubs at a strategic geographical position connecting continents. In the past decade, the international air transportation sector expanded 5.6% worldwide, while Turkey achieved a growth of 14%. Istanbul, which has become one of the world's most prominent flight and transfer hubs, has the leading role in these growth figures. According to the data of Turkish Ministry of Culture, in 2017, the number of foreign tourists arriving at Istanbul increased 17.8%, compared to the previous year. In 2018, the same increasing rate seems to be continued; therefore the growth trend is expected to be sustained.
According to the report published by Airports Council International Europe (ACI Europe), in February 2018, Istanbul Atatürk Airport was among the top 5 airports that increased its number of passengers in Europe with a rate of 17.7%. The second position among the Group 1 category airports in terms of the highest increase in passenger traffic was secured by Sabiha Gökçen, following Istanbul Atatürk, with an increase of 15.5%.
According to the 2018 Airport Industry Connectivity Report of ACI, Istanbul Atatürk Airport ranked the 5th among the European airports in terms of direct connectivity and flight volume. Furthermore, the report in question lists Atatürk Airport in the 4th position among both the top performers in direct connectivity and in terms of the best hub connectivity in Europe over the last decade.
The Istanbul Airport strengthens Istanbul, the center of a vast geography from the East to the West, with its extremely high capacity, various kinds of facilities and sound infrastructure opportunities. Having a strategic location considering the transfer routes, Istanbul acts as an attractive hub for transit flights between the USA and Europe, as well as the Middle East, Central Asia and North India.
Today, the Istanbul Airport launches flights to a total of 146 destinations at various continents within 3 hours connecting 120+ countries, 60+ capital cities, 250+ international and 50 domestic destinations. When the airport is put into operation in full capacity, the number of flight destinations will exceed 350.
Istanbul is a transfer hub not only for passenger transportation but also for air cargo transportation between Asia and Europe. The Istanbul Airport is an outstanding hub for air cargo transportation. The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of cargo operations reached a significant rate of 18.7% between 2009 and 2017. The Istanbul Airport also serves a major hub for air cargo transportation.