According to Do I need a Turkey transit visa for a layover?, one doesn't need a transit visa for Turkey if one isn't leaving the airside area of the airport.

Say that a citizen of a country that requires a visa to visit Turkey has a flight booked that arrives on the last day of operations at Ataturk Airport, and their connection thus leaves from the new Istanbul Airport. (This is a likely scenario, since Turkish Airlines' booking system conflates the two airports.)

Will a citizen of such a country require a transit visa for Turkey? Also, will checked baggage be transferred to the new airport, or will one have to claim it at Ataturk and transport it themselves to the new airport and recheck it?

  • 2
    This is the first question certainly related to Istanbul Airport. I'm using this chance to create the isl tag. :)
    – user63373
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 10:45
  • 2
    Have you tried to book on overnight connection on that date? They may just not sell them.
    – DTRT
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 14:14
  • @Johns-305 No, I have not tried. (But I did notice that even after flights are transferred to the new airport, the website refers to "Ataturk Airport".)
    – gparyani
    Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 18:36
  • Conflating the two airports is probably for the best. That way, if they pull a Berlin at the last moment, travelers who already booked won't need to be rebooked to use Ataturk instead. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


There is an article (in Turkish) on BBC. It does not directly answer the question, but gives a hint. Since the transition has been postponed to March 2019, I will translate and summarize the initial plan (Day 1 was 29 December 2018) without using the exact dates.

  • Ataturk Airport

    • Day 1: All airlines are fully operational.
    • Day 2: Only Turkey based airlines fly for 16 hours, only Turkish Airlines next 8 hours.
    • Day 3: No flight.
  • Istanbul Airport

    • Day 1: Only some domestic flights, which were previously initiated by Turkish Airlines.
    • Day 2: Same with Day 1.
    • Day 3: No flight for 12 hours. Turkish Airlines starts after 12 PM, other airlines after 3 PM.
    • Day 4: All airlines are fully operational.

We see that both airports are completely closed in the first half of Day 3. Turkish Airlines has a 12-hour gap, other Turkey based airlines 23-hour and others 39-hour.

If a passenger is flying without Turkish Airlines, the layover seems to exceed 24 hours. The passenger will need a transit visa.

Other passengers who have shorter layover time are in control of Turkish Airlines. The connections can be cancelled, because many flights will already be cancelled. Note that Turkish Airlines is not fully operational on Day 2 either, they will reduce the number of flights.

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