I have had the chance to use the New Istanbul Airport recently. And oh my gosh, it puts Berlin's airports to shame!
See, the airport fully opened on April 6 this year, when all flights were transferred from the old Atatürk Airport to the new Istanbul Airport. And we used the new airport within less than two weeks of that date, when we visited Istanbul for the long Easter weekend. What I saw was definitely very impressive, and something that I would want in my home city. Alas, my home city of Berlin doesn't quite deliver that. Come to think of it, Berlin has this still unopened new airport, and it was supposed to be open already when I moved here, back in 2012. Several years later, it's still closed.
Anyway, Istanbul Airport is massive. When we arrived, we touched down, and the taxi felt like it was going on for ages. The aircraft was just driving and driving, and I didn't know where we were going, until I realised how massive the airfield is, so taxiing to the gate took a while. When we got out, after walking up the jetway, there was also a massive length of airport concourse that we had to walk, before reaching Immigration. In the meantime I saw the various different areas of the airport, with all the flights going to many different places. You'll definitely need at least thirty minutes to get from gate to taxi stand.
Flying out of Istanbul Airport was also impressive. In order to enter the building, all luggage has to be screened, so there's a layer of security there that in my previous experience, I have only seen in the Philippines. In other airports, you could simply walk up to the Check In counters without screening. After that, there's a massive set of Check In counters, which we didn't use since we already checked in with our mobile phones. The Immigration was painless, and was right there in the middle of the terminal, and after that, there was another security screening, which then released you to the marvellous world of duty-free.
There's plenty of space to wander and wonder. There's enough space for travellers from far-flung places wearing only desert attire to lounge and kick back, sleeping at the floors as if the airport terminal's floor was the Sahara. Back in Atatürk, I remembered thinking when I used it in 2014 that the airport was very crowded and people who didn't really know how to travel and navigate an airport were forced to grapple with these foreign signs in a very small and cramped space. The New Istanbul Airport has more than enough space for people who are rather lost, and enough space for hurried well-worn travellers to zoom past them.
Overall, I had a very good impression of the new airport. I would consider travelling through Istanbul Airport again, and at the same time, hope that the long overdue Berlin Brandenburg Airport finally opens. The two current airports of Berlin feel more like a bus stop than an airport that a city can be proud of.