Istanbul Airport Ataturk was formerly known as Yesilkoy International Airport and is the main International airport in Istanbul, Turkey. It was first opened in 1924 as Yesilkoy on the City’s mostly pro-European side, with its location being about 15 miles west of Istanbul’s city center. The airport became what it is termed as today, Ataturk International Airport, in 1980, and is named after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who was the founder and first ever president of the modern Turkish republic.
Istanbul Airport had a total number of 30 million passengers based on the 2009 statistics, making it among the world’s top 40 international Airports on account of the overall passenger traffic. In terms of international passenger traffic, Istanbul Airport was ranked the 20th busiest across the globe. In Europe it is ranked as the ninth busiest airport.
The airport faces some capacity problems whereby it is between the 30th and 40th positions in terms of passenger and cargo traffic. Based on the 2009 stats, it handles more than 825,000 tones of freight, cargo and mail, as well as more than the said 30 million passengers. Per year Istanbul Airport has a rated 14 million capacity of international passengers and about 10 million of the same for domestic ones.
In the year 2007 the number of transit passengers who made use of all the Turkish airports totaled to 2,706,614 with 87.4 percent of these, or 2,365, 206, going through the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Thus, there is a planning process in progress for a third and bigger airport in the Istanbul suburb of Silivri, about 40 kilometers west of the City of Istanbul, to meet the rising demand of international and domestic air traffic for a transit point, source and destination. In case the current growth in terms passengers is sustained, Istanbul Airport is expected to enter the realm of the 30 busiest international airports across the globe in terms of overall passenger traffic.