The Israel Airports Authority today published data for 2016 passenger traffic through Ben Gurion International Airport. The number of international travelers in 2016 was a record 17.3 million, 11% more than in 2015.
Despite the deadly terrorist attacks in Turkey in 2016, it was the leading destination for passengers from Israel with 1.6 million passengers. Most of those passengers, however, used Istanbul as a stopover en route to other destinations.
The second most popular destination for Israelis was Italy with 1.5 million passengers, following by the US and Germany in third and fourth places with 1.45 million and 1.2 million passengers, respectively. There were one million passengers to both France and Russia.
Despite the prolonged labor dispute and disruption of flights at El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL), the Israeli airline was the leading carrier in Israel in 2016 with 5.5 million passengers. The next most popular airline was Turkish Airlines with 932,000 passengers, following by low cost airline Easy Jet with 720,000 and Arkia Airlines Ltd. with 650,000. Rounding out the list of leaders was Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. with 548,000 passengers.
Ben Gurion Airport director Shmuel Zakai said, "Ben Gurion Airport has undergone a self-service revolution, and we'll continue to encourage early flight check-in from home. This year again, those who did check-in from home or from small vendors had a shorter experience in the security check lines and special automated security systems, the most advanced in the world of their kind. The systems, developed by the Airports Authority, helped to greatly shorten the security check lines."
Internal Airports Authority surveys show that 36% of passengers check in for their flights from home, and 9% use the vendors spread around the airport. This means that almost half of passengers coming for security checks have already done check-in and printed their boarding card.
Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz said in response, "I am proud of my contribution to one of the greatest consumer-social revolutions in recent years, The open skies agreement in Israel, which I signed, put Israel in line with the global trend. This was a virtually impossible task. The Israeli airlines threatened collapse, but we see today that not only was there no collapse, but they profited from the change, and the public was the main beneficiary. The Israeli consumer now travels more and pays less."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 1, 2017
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