Esenboga international airport is the closest airport to Turkey’s capital sitting 28 kilometres east. Interestingly, Esenboga’s name means “healthy bull.” The airport is undoubtedly healthy, having received two Airport Council International awards for best airport in Europe, the first Turkish airport to receive the accolade. Esenboga Airport is also an emergency landing site for NASA’s space shuttle. At its peak, Esenboga airport served nearly 15 million visitors a year until the COVID crisis.
About Esenboga International Airport
Beginnings and History
Esenboga airport first opened in 1955, and since then, traffic has continued to grow. As Turkey’s fourth busiest airport, many airline passengers use the domestic terminal rather than international. In 2009, Esenboga Airport won the award for being the best in Europe. Given as credit for the airport’s commitment to environmental issues, in 2020, Esenboga airport won the prize again.
International and Domestic Facilities
A new combined domestic and international terminal opened in 2006 and offers everything airline passengers expect from a well-performing air travel hub, including lost and found, currency exchange, prayer rooms, and information desks. In addition, 11 places serve various food and beverages, and ATU operates duty-free shops in both terminals. Wi-fi service is available, and passengers can buy tickets to the Prime class lounge in Domestics or the Comfort lounge in internationals. Both lounges offer standard services, including snacks, hot and cold beverages, internet access, newspapers and magazines, and a children’s playroom.
Transport, Parking and Connecting Flights
A shuttle service leaves shortly after each flight arrival and travels to Ankara city centre, taking around 45 minutes. Esenboga international airport connects with Ankara’s central bus station via the 442 EGO Ankara bus. In addition, passengers can catch taxis from outside both terminals. A multi-story car park that can accommodate 4053 vehicles is opposite the domestic and international terminals and connected via two passageways. Four parking ticket machines sit at the main entrances. In addition, six more payment points sit within both terminals.
Airlines and Flight Destinations
Fly from Ankara to Amsterdam, Cologne, Bonn, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hanover, Kabul, Ercan (North Cyprus), Vienna, Brussels, Tehran, and Tripoli. Domestic flights go to Adana, Adiyaman, Agri, Antalya, Batman, Bodrum, Dalaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Hatay, İstanbul-Sabiha Gokcen, İzmir, Kahramanmaras, Kars, Malatya, Mardin, Mus, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Trabzon and Van. Airlines operating out of Esenboga include Anadolu Jet, Azerbaijan Airlines, Buta, Corendon, Fly Bagdad, Fly Dubai, Iran Air, Iraqi Airways, Mahan Air, Pegasus, Qatar airways, Sun Express, Turkish Airlines, and Turkmenistan Airlines.
Turkey’s capital has plenty of sights even a world-weary traveller will enjoy. The ancient hill citadel houses the Anatolian Civilisations Museum, featuring artefacts nearly 7500 years old. Across from the fortress, Cengel Han Rahmi M Koc Museum features engineering and scientific exhibits.
If you are lucky, you may explore the Seljuk Turkish Ahi Serafettin Mosque and Tomb, built in 1290, but it is usually open at prayer times and challenging to visit. Near Ulus Square, there are several Roman artefacts, including the ruined Augustus and Rome Temple and the Column of Julian. Even though Ankara is the capital of Turkey, there is much more to the country than that. Read our blog about Turkey that talks more about places of interest, food, culture, history, tourism and living in Turkey as a foreign expat.