April a Banner Month at Ben Gurion

An El Al plane at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

April — which isn’t quite over — has been a banner month for Ben Gurion airport. A total of 1.7 million passengers have so far passed through the airport this month, 25 percent more than in April 2016.

There are now 139 airlines operating in Israel, with 10 new ones set to begin serving in the coming months, the Tourism Ministry said, adding that this number was unique among mid-sized airports worldwide.

Among the most popular destinations in April were Turkey, Cyprus, France, Greece and Germany. More Israelis flew to Turkey than anywhere else, but the Ministry said that nearly all of them were traveling further on connecting flights on Turkish Airlines. If anything, the number shows how popular Turkish Airlines has become, with numbers that beat any carrier other than El Al. As a final destination, the U.S. was in first place, the numbers showed.

In terms of carriers, EasyJet was the third-largest carrier behind El Al and Turkish, followed by Israir and Russian carrier Aeroflot — another carrier with good connections that has attracted many new customers.

Commenting on the numbers, Tourism Minister Yisrael Katz said that “the lower costs of airfares, part of our ‘Open Skies’ revolution, has led to a dramatic increase in traffic at Ben Gurion Airport. The Open Skies agreements that we have signed with numerous countries is the most important development for consumers in the past five years. I intend to continue this revolution and sign more deals with more countries and carriers in order to further reduce the cost of flying, both for Israelis and for tourists to Israel.”