Air passenger traffic reached a peak in 2016, with room for optimism about 2017 (assuming that fuel prices do not soar and push up airline ticket prices).
Minister of Transportation, Road Safety, and Intelligence Yisrael Katz yesterday announced the intensifying of the open skies policy and competition by opening internal flight routes to foreign airlines and allowing the airlines to establish hubs in Israel. Ryanair has already asked for permission to establish such a hub at Ramon Airport.
The Israel Airports Authority is publishing its 2016 summary today, showing a rise in all indices. Passenger traffic totaled 17,342,146, 11% more than in 2015. Traffic of airplanes totaled 127,500, 7.4% more than in 2015.
The peak month in 2016 was August, with 2.1 million passengers. Of particular interest is the volume of traffic during the winter. Passenger traffic totaled 1,233,000, up 22%, compared with August 2015, and December 2016 traffic was 15.5% higher than in the corresponding month in 2015.
As expected, the most active airline was El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) with over 5.5 million passengers, 11% more than in the preceding year. 930,000 passengers flew on Turkish Airlines, a 13% increase over the preceding year, with most of these passengers taking continuation flights stopping in Istanbul on their way to destinations in other countries.
In third place with 720,000 passengers, 13.5% more than in 2015, was easyJet, which spearheaded the low-cost flight revolution in Israel. Also part of this trend was Aeroflot, which finished in fourth place with 703,000 passengers, a 47% increase over 2015.
Arkia Airlines Ltd. and Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. also improved their result, posting a 30% rise in activity: 650,000 passengers on Arkia and 550,000 on Israir. Both companies are expanding their destination maps, with Arkia also planning to fly to New York and Thailand.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 25, 2017
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