In response to increasing traffic and a growing economy, Ben Gurion airport opened a new wing that can accommodate 1,800 more passengers per hour, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday. At current rate of growth, Israel’s international airport is expected to handle 25 million passengers in 2019, which would make Ben Gurion one of the world’s largest airports.
Currently 100 airlines use Ben Gurion, a few of which began operating there in just the past year. Over the past decade traffic at Ben Gurion has increased, due to Israel’s signing the Open Skies Agreement, which allowed a greater number European airlines to fly to Israel.
The number of people traveling through Ben Gurion has increased from 17.9 in 2016 to nearly 20.8 million in 2017. In 2018, 23 million are expected to pass through Ben Gurion. The increase in traffic through Ben Gurion is occurring even though El Al the main carrier at the airport doesn’t have many transit passengers, unlike other airlines, due to security concerns.
2017 saw a record number of tourists, 3.6 million, visit Israel, as the country recovers from Operation Protective Edge, its most recent war with Hamas, in 2014.
The new extension, known as Wing E in Terminal 3, was designed by famed architect Moshe Safdie, who was aided by architect Irit Kochavi.
“As part of a fruitful cooperation with the Israel Airports Authority, the fourth wing that my office was responsible for designing will enable the expansion of the capacity of those departing and entering Israel, thus further opening the field of tourism in Israel,” Safdie said. “I hope that work on a fifth wing will begin shortly.”
According to the Post, “the new passenger wing includes telescopic glass pathways, eight plane exit gates, four bus exit gates, along with shops, restaurants, a VIP lounge and maintenance and cargo services.”
[Photo: Michaelg2588 / WikiCommons]