September broke all records for travel to Israel, as hundreds of thousands came to celebrate the chagim. Nearly 2 million passengers passed through Ben Gurion Airport in September, 7.5 percent more than the same month a year earlier. A total of 12,392 planes landed or took off from the airport that month, including an increased number of charter planes, many of which ferried thousands of Yidden to Uman for Rosh Hashanah.
Through October 1, a total of 15.3 million passengers have passed through Ben Gurion Airport on their way into or out of Israel in 2017. This number is 16 percent more than in the first 10 months of 2016, and sets a new record.
Although it experienced a 13-percent decline in the number of passengers it carried in October 2017 compared to the same month a year earlier, El Al remained the biggest carrier, with 480,000 passengers. Israir jumped to second place in October, carrying 95,500 passengers for the month, an increase of 30 percent year on year. In third place was Turkish Airlines, carrying 91,400 passengers.
Israeli airline Arkia followed, with 82,000 passengers. The biggest jump in passengers to and from Israel was experienced by Russian airline Aeroflot, which saw the number of passengers it carried this September grow by 80 percent, to nearly 70,000, compared to September 2016. Since the beginning of the year, Turkish and Aeroflot have been the top carriers working from Ben Gurion, after El Al. Most of the passengers on those two airlines flew the carriers to Istanbul and Moscow respectively, and then transferred to other flights or airlines. The United States remained the top final destination for Israeli travelers.