“And ye shall dwell with us; and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.’” Genesis 34:10 (The Israel Bible™)
17,387,971 international passengers passed through Ben Gurion Airport in 2016, according to statistics released Sunday by the National Transportation Authority. The numbers represent an 11 percent rise over 2015. Including domestic travel, more than 18 million people utilized the country’s main airport last year.
Leading destinations for travel to and from Israel included Turkey (1.6 passengers, most of whom were in transit), the United States (1.45 million), Germany (1.2 million), and Italy (1.5 million). One million passengers traveled to both Russia and France. Top airlines included Israel national carrier El Al (5.5 passengers), Turkish Airlines (932,000), Easy Jet (719,000), Aeroflot (704,000), Arkia (650,000) and Israir (548,000).
Currently, more than 100 airlines serve 135 international destinations – numbers that are unusual for an airport of Ben Gurion’s size. But spokespeople for the Authority said that infrastructure and security work at the airport would allow Israel to further expand air travel in and out of the country, and to accommodate additional airlines wanting to expand their services to include Israel.
Thirty-six percent of travelers check in for flights from home via the internet, and nine percent use kiosks in the departures hall. Ninety percent of passengers on low-cost airlines checked in online and printed boarding passes at home.
Uvda International Airport, near Eilat, registered 128,595 travellers during 2016, a 97.8 percent spike over 2015.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said “We are entering the fifth year of the “open skies” agreement with the European Union…. In contrast to all the predictions, Israeli citizizens have benefitted from the agreement, and Israeli airlines have not suffered losses. To the contrary – they have added flights to many international destinations.”