High-Speed Metro Line Set To Connect New Istanbul Airport With City

Turkey’s first high-speed metro line is set to connect Gayrettepe-Istanbul Airport with downtown Istanbul according to Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Şafak (“New Dawn”) quoting the transport minister.

Turkish Airlines
Istanbul Airport to the city M11 line is expected to carry 93 million passengers per year. Photo: Turkish Airlines

Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey, Cahit Turhan, said on Friday that the new high-speed link between Istanbul’s new mega airport and the Gayrettepe district would see trains traveling at 120 kilometers per hour (74.5 miles per hour).

A tunnel for the new metro line set a world record

While speaking at an event to celebrate the completion of drilling on a 30-kilometer (18.6 miles) long tunnel from Hasdal in the Eyup district to the airport, the minister was proud to point out that the tunnel drilling project had set a world record.

tunnel Boring machine
Drilling a tunnel for the new high-speed metro sets a world record. Photo: Matt Brown via Flickr

To get the tunnel dug as fast as possible over 4,000 people and 10 boring machines worked around the clock excavating 64.5 meters (212 feet) of rock per day, according to the Daily Sabbah.


The new high-speed metro line, which is already 80% complete, covers a distance of 37.5 kilometers (23.3 miles) and includes nine stations of which only two will be in the city.

The M11 high-speed metro line is expected to carry 93 million passengers per year

The minister also said that Istanbul residents were looking forward to the new metro line opening. He stated that the new airport will have three stations to transport passengers into Istanbul where they can connect to other lines.

Current Istanbul metro trains can only travel at a maximum of 50mph. Photo: Pixabay

When operational, the new M11 line is expected to carry 93 million passengers a year between the airport and the rapid transport lines at Gayrettepe station to M2 Yenikapı–Hacıosman. Travel time between the furthest station to downtown will be 30 minutes.

Istanbul’s new airport

Described as being the “New Face of Turkey,” Istanbul’s new international airport when fully completed in 2027 will be the biggest in the world. It is planned to be capable of handling 200 million passengers per year.

Istanbul Airport is “The New Face of Turkey”. Photo: Pinelife via Flickr

This is an incredible figure if you consider that the world’s current busiest airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport handled 107,394,029 passengers in 2018.

With four terminals and six runways, Turkey is hoping to make Istanbul a major player between Europe and Asia, dwarfing its aviation hub rivals in the Gulf.

When talking to CNN about the new Istanbul Airport and its ambitions Dr. Khan Doyme, Research Associate at the Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London, said,

“I think that the primary thought behind the new airport is that it will directly compete with the current hub airports in the Middle East such as in Doha and Dubai. I think it’s got a very, very good chance of taking market share off them when it comes to single-stop itineraries that go from Asia to Europe and Europe to Asia. But also I think Istanbul is generally better situated. It can also act as a hub to some parts of Africa.”

Costing an estimated $12 billion to build, Turkey (and let’s not forget Turkish Airlines) will be hoping that the new airport will bring prosperity and new jobs to Istanbul.

The new M11 high-speed metro should also add to the allure to businesspeople and tourists, enabling them to get from the city center to the airport in just half an hour.


Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
5 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Oh my beloved country. Opening one of the biggest hubs in the world without any subway connection to the city centre at least 50 kms away from the airport. That’s what can be seen only in Turkey. Currently shuttles are the only public transit option to the airport. Nearly any of the people I talked to are not happy about using this new airport as it lacks transportation options to the city. Also the terminal is so big that passengers need to walk long distances to reach the gates. Moreover this airport is much more expensive than Ataturk Airport so… Read more »


I love to be nostalgic. But this New Istanbul Airport is an invest in the future of the nations aviation industry and that the metro line will be commissioned in few months. I think Ataturk Airport had years ago the peak, beyond the maximum capacity and it was too close to the city. The new Istanbul Airport opened fully Just half a year ago. I think everybody has to give him a chance in a long way. In 5 to 10 years nobody will care about the starting problems. We live in a world where the number of passengers will… Read more »

Alessandro R.

Nice article. If is 80% completed it means its completion is still far? I read many sources that opening will be November 2019, other early months on 2020, someone December 2020.
Do you have an “official” (probable) date of opening?


Very strange opinion. The new airport is definitely has far BETTER transport links than Ataturk. The latter had a metro, but often overcrowded and operating 06-24 hours only, and a couple of bus routes- also with limited hours. While the new airport offers nice direct buses to dozens of districs in the city, many of which never had any direct airport transport. And many of those buses are 24 hours.