Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (IATA: SAW, ICAO: LTFJ) is the 2nd Airport in Istanbul and was opened on 8th of January 2001. It became first privately operated airport of Turkey and Anatolian side of Istanbul, Mainly Low-cost carriers using home base & operates from this airport.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport is a hub for Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Anadolujet. Sunexpress also operates a lot of domestic routes. Apart from these Airlines the traffic consists out of some rare exotic airlines and aircraft which cannot be seen in Europe. All in all Sabiha Gökçen Airport handled 29.6 Million passengers last year! A big highlight in SAW are rare cargo traffics like Afriqiyah Cargo, Turkmenistan Cargo, Uzbekistan Cargo and Silk Road Cargo. Unfortunately most of these flights are not schedule, that’s why some luck is needed to catch this rare traffic.
Unfortunately SAW isn’t very “spotter friendly” (sad if you look at the traffic), but there are good points, too. For example there is just one runway so you can’t lose in “runwaypoker” like you have it in Amsterdam often. For security information please have a look at Spotting Informations, reading these can be quite important!
Written by Yiğit Çiçekci (last visit April 2017). Photos: Yiğit Çiçekci, Firat Çimenli, Eren Erol and Joao Gomes.
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| (14 votes, average: 3.21 out of 5)
|06/24||3000m (9843 ft)|
|Terminals||Domestic and International Terminal.|
|Ladder||Not needed and even not recommended; the use of a ladder next to the airport fence will attract the authorities.|
|Car/Public Transport||Car can be useful. Especially at the waiting times you can sit and wait in your car. This will be better for your personal safety. You can park your car easily everywhere. But taxi fares is acceptable and recommend compared to use the public transport.|
|Restrooms||You’ll find restrooms at the gas stations only.|
|Drinks/Food||You can see little local markets everywhere. So you can get small snacks there.|
|Hotels||There are a lot of hotels around SAW. Hampton by Hilton Kurtkoy and Radisson Blue are the best ones. Emirtimes Hotel recommended by Joao Gomes.|
|Season||The best season is the summer. Often you’re luckier with more sunny weather and longer days than in the winter months. The traffic is a lot more busier, too.|
|Security||Spotting in Turkey is neither supported nor understood. Spotting at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport SAW is at your own risk. Please always adjust your behaviour when travelling into the Middle East states (including Turkey) to aviod inconveniences with the police or similar authorities. Keep a low profile wherever you are and try to hide your camera whenever it’s possible to prevent sensation. If you have a car stow your camera underneath the seat or in the glovebox of the car. Have a map with you to fake a glitch or for an alleged planning of a route and stay inside your car as long as possible.Information: Our team hasn’t yet experienced any problems at SAW, but we heard some stories of other spotters. The most important thing about spotting at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, they told us, is to be careful with the local people. In this point the airport is similar to Antalya, because a lot of inhabitants don’t understand our hobby and see us as suspicious persons hanging around with expensive cameras.
+++ SPOTTING IN TURKEY IS AT YOUR OWN RISK +++
|06/24||06 is the main runway, because there is mainly northern wind in Istanbul. Mostly southern winds are ignored up to 6-7 knots by tower and they still use the 06. If the winds gets stronger from southern directions the runway will be change to 24.|
|Spot #1 – 06 Morning Arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is at the corner of the Cemil Meriç Street and the Yasin Sok. There is shop near the spotting point and the owner is very friendly. You can park your car in the Yasin Sok.|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 06.|
|TIME||Light conditions are good from sunrise till around highnoon.
|MISC.||Some markets can be found nearby. As you standing directly at a busy street you will attract attention from the locals so keep a low profile and stay in your car.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||130mm B737 and 100mm B767|
|Spot #2 – Botas Park – 06 Arrivals Afternoon|
|WHERE||On the Tandoğan Street inside/near to a children park. If you coming by Spot#1 the park is on your left side. You can park your car around the park.|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 06.|
|TIME||In summer light is perfect after 15:00 to sunset.|
|MISC.||You can relax on the grass here, so it’s not so obvious what we are doing. Take care of the security guards inside the park and local people again, park is very full if the wheater is good, The most important point is you must be careful to local people. People getting poor to understand our hobby and see suspicious who hanging around with expensive camera but the park have security guards. There can be found some little local markets around the park, but no toilets.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||160mm B737 and 130mm B767|
|Spot #3 – Terminal – Afternoon|
|WHERE||This spot is inside the international and domestic Terminal at the waiting area. It is airside so you need a boarding pass to get there. You can take the pictures through the windows from unoccupied gates.|
|WHAT||All activities infront of the terminal on the apron but best for taxiway photos.|
|TIME||Light is good from around 16:00 till sunset.|
|MISC.||You can find a Burger King, Starbucks and toilets here!|
|FOCAL LENGTH||150mm for A320 or B737|
|Spot #4 – 24 Morning Arrivals|
|WHERE||The point is on the Kurtkoy-Orhanli Road. Turn right before you see the petrol station signboard. Parking is possible all along the road directly at the spotting location.|
|WHAT||All arrivals on runway 24.|
|TIME||Light is good in summer until 12:00, at the winter until 16:00.|
|MISC.||Nothing can be found here. It’s better if you stay inside your car during waiting and hide your camera.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||150mm for an A320|
|Spot #5 – Petrol Station – 24 Morning Arrivals|
|WHERE||Its on the Fettah Basaran Cad. You’ll see the petrol station on right side if you coming from terminal. This spot isn’t perfect, but if something special approachs, you can stop here easily, but don’t stay too long.|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 24.|
|TIME||Light in the summer days is good until around noon and in the winter months till 16:00.|
|MISC.||There is an petrol station nearby where you can find snacks and toilets.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||170mm for an A320|
|Spot #6 – 24 Afternoon Arrivals|
|WHERE||Its in the Çardak sk at the junction of Kurtkoy Orhanlı Road. You can park your car along the road but be carefully due to some heavy trucks passing by. This spot isn’t perfect, but if something special approachs, you can stop here easily, but don’t stay too long.
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 24.|
|TIME||Light is good in the summer only, from around 15:00 till sunset.|
|MISC.||There is nothing here. This spot isn’t perfect, but if something special approachs, you can stop here easily, but don’t stay long.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||135mm for a B737|