2018 was a record year for international travel in Israel. A total of 22.4 million people – 2.2 million more than a year earlier – passed through Ben Gurion Airport during the year, with 11 percent more flights than in 2017. According to the Airports Authority, which supplied the figures, the increase was due to the various “Open Skies” agreements that Israel has with foreign countries to encourage international tourism. “Passage” through the airport includes incoming and outgoing passengers, so each individual is counted at least twice, it should be noted.
In more good news, the Authority said that it had managed to reduce the amount of time spent by passengers trying to get to their flights. In 2018, passengers spent an average of 16 minutes on line to check in to their flights, 24 percent less time than the average 22 minutes spent on line in 2017. Part of the reason for that is the increase in the number of passengers who check in to their flights from home; those who do so are able to pass through airport security inspection and registration in just nine minutes.
2019 promises to be even more active, and officials are taking steps to prepare for a further increase in the number of passengers. On January 14th, Terminal One will change from being a domestic terminal and will be used by passengers of the many low-cost European airlines that now fly to Israel. The move will double the number of passengers using the terminal in 2019, to more than 2 million.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that “the investment in Terminal One was about NIS 500 million, as part of the Open Skies program. Plans are also underway for another terminal to further increase the passenger load at the airport.”