Over 2.5 Million Passengers at Ben Gurion in August

A passenger waiting by his luggage in the departure hall at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. (Flash90)

A total of 2,546,153 international and domestic travelers passed through Ben Gurion Airport in August, flying into, out of, and within Israel on 15,857 flights. The number of passengers reflects a 17 percent increase over August 2016, the Transportation Ministry announced.

So far, 2017 has been a very good year at Ben Gurion. As of August 31, over 20 million passengers had passed through the airport, an all-time record. September is expected to be almost as busy as August, as hundreds of thousands enter the country to celebrate the chagim. As many as 2 million passengers are expected to pass through Ben Gurion during that month. Officials said that the year-end total could be as many as 30 million passengers.

One of the biggest contributors to the increased passenger load has been the emergence of a low-cost flight market, as carriers such as RyanAir and Wizz Airlines make their mark in Israel. So far, over 1.5 million Israelis have taken advantage of the low-cost flights, mostly to Europe.

It’s all due to the Transportation Ministry’s “Open Skies” policy. According to Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, the Open Skies policy has increased the number of flights servicing Israel by 50 percent. Katz said that he is constantly reviewing Israel’s flight agreements with other countries.

“This is a strategic aim for us,” Katz said. “The addition of flights is part of the consumer revolution which has greatly benefited Israelis, thanks to the increasing number of direct flights to many destinations, and especially for the reduction of cost by large percentages thanks to increased competition.”