Israel

August 2018 Ranks as Busiest Month in Ben Gurion Airport’s History

August will end by setting a new record for the number of passengers coming and going via Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, with almost three million travelers passing through during the month, Globes reported on Tuesday. This makes it the busiest month on record for the airport.

According to the Israel Airports Authority, international passenger traffic will total 2.7 million in August – 10% more than in August 2017. 2.4 million passengers passed through the airport in July, up 10.6% from July 2017.

It is estimated that September will break last year’s record as well, as it is a busy month due to the Yom Tovim (High Holy Days) and the vacation from schools and universities. Over 2.2 million passengers on 14,000 flights are expected to arrive and take off from the airport next month – 17% more than in September 2017.

Thousands of Israelis will travel to the town of Uman in Ukraine. 30,000 Hassidim are expected to travel to the city on 133 flights between the dates of September 5 to 9 ahead of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. Israel will be establishing a temporary consulate in Uman over the holiday. Other popular destinations include Greece, Turkey [as a stopover], France, Italy and the United States.

One of the biggest contributors to the increased passenger load has been the emergence of a low-cost flight market in Israel, spearheaded by RyanAir and Wizz Airlines.

Last year, Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said that the Open Skies policy had increased the number of flights servicing Israel by 50%.

“This is a strategic aim for us,” Katz observed. “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.”

Passenger traffic will come to a halt on the eve of Yom Kippur, September 18, with the final landing being at 1:40 PM (by El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL)) and the last take-off at 1:55 PM, after which Israel’s airspace will be closed. Flights will resume after Yom Kippur at 9:30 PM on September 19 and the first take-off will be at 11:30 PM the same day.

Earlier this year Ben Gurion opened a new wing and Israel’s international airport is on track to handle 25 million passengers in 2019, which would qualify it to be classified as one of the world’s busiest airports.

[Photo: Nicky Boogaard / Flickr]