Home Airport Spotting Guide Istanbul Airport Radisson SAS Hotel

Istanbul Airport Radisson SAS Hotel

by Matt Falcus

This report comes from Simon Brooke, who reports on the Radisson SAS Hotel at Istanbul Ataturk Airport…

Some six years ago, I reported on the Radisson SAS hotel which is immediately to the north of Istanbul’s Ataturk International airport. I’ve just been back there for a few days and had a splendid time clearing the blanks in my THY fleet plus a goodly number of others….

OK, on this occasion I splurged and got myself a suite for the 4 nights – having done so, I would seriously suggest that (if there are enough of you) somebody gets the suite (I had 386) – everybody else can “slum” it, but the suite is the spotting room! Assuming that the numbers are the same on
higher floors then 486 and 586 would be even better – however, I wanted a smoking room……

My suite had an enormous living room/dining room with picture windows on two sides. The windows on one side gave a superb view of the airport and on the other gave a good view of approaches onto 18L/R or departures on 36L/R. Any arrivals on the cross runway at the far end of the airfield (05) were also easily visible.

The suite was huge, easily able to accommodate a bunch of enthusiasts during the airport’s operational day.

There is a Shell petrol station next to the hotel with a shop, so snacks are available.

The restaurants in the hotel are appallingly expensive so I would suggest that a taxi or walk of some 500 yards would offer much cheaper Turkish food.

IST is surrounded by watch-towers manned by armed Turkish Air Force personnel. Two of those watch-towers are clearly visible from the hotel – whether the guys on the watch-towers can see into the hotel rooms is a different matter….

I was keeping the proverbial low profile, aided by a constant supply of “Efes” and had no problems at all with the Turkish authorities. Indeed, when the WiFi failed to operate, I got the hotel’s IT manager up to sort out a cable connection and he was fascinated by SBS (he has a degree in Aeronautics and Meteorology from Istanbul University and is really helpful).

Great spotting hotel – not too good for pics, though and horribly expensive!!!!

During the 3 full days of my visit, I saw….

All THY A320s bar one
All THY A319s bar one
All THY A321s bar one (which was around – I just never saw it)
Most THY A340s (I wasn’t taking much notice as I’ve already seen them all)

Very few A332s/B773s – maybe it was my sleep pattern….

THY 737s/738s were a bit of a pain – a substantial number are now operating out of SAW and came nowhere near IST (apart from the very occasional low-level over-flight identified on SBS); I never saw one in AnadoluJet colours at IST.

Other than THY, the major Turkish operators are Onur Air and AtlasJet, with a few Izmir A319s operating for Pegasus.

There are some nice oddities operating into IST as well….

Royal Jordanian E170
Air Moldova E190
Gulf Air E170
Saudia MD90/A330

Plus many second-hand aircraft – mostly of the Boeing 737 family – from the “stans”.

Also a few biz jets, and plenty of helicopters around although I only read off and identified one of them.

You may also like

Leave a Comment