Istanbul Airport will be the main international airport serving Istanbul. It is based in the Arnavutköy district on the European side of Istanbul, Turkey.

The opening ceremony took place on 29 October 2018, scheduled so as to coincide with the 95th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic.

On November 1 2018, five daily flights will start to arrive and depart from the airport: Ankara, Antalya, Baku, Ercan, İzmir.These flights will all be operated by Turkish Airlines. Regularly scheduled flights to these destinations will still depart from Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports alongside these trial flights. On December 31 2018, all equipment from Atatürk Airport will be transferred by truck to the new airport via the O-7 Motorway.

Atatürk Airport, Istanbul's current main airport, is located in the Yeşilköy neighbourhood of the Bakırköy district and is surrounded by urban Istanbul. Additionally, there is an increasing problem of air traffic congestion. Atatürk Airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe. Since 2013, it has ranked among the five busiest airports in Europe by passenger traffic.

There is no space to build an additional runway on the Atatürk Airport site, as the airport is surrounded on all sides. Because of the limited capacity, the Turkish Airport Authority does not allow additional cargo or charter flights to the airport. Due to a lack of slot capacity and parking spaces, some of Turkish Airlines' aircraft are based in Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Sabiha Gökçen Airport itself is already at maximum terminal capacity of 25 million passengers, and handled 28 million passengers in 2015 after posting traffic growth rates averaging over 20% a year since 2013.

In 2015 and 2016, the two Istanbul airports handled almost 90 million passengers, with more than 95 million passengers in 2017. In terms of area airports, the six London-area airports serve more than 150 million passengers a year, while the three Paris-area airports serve around 100 million passengers a year.