At Home and Abroad, by Avi Krawitz [pg. 17]

Some 2.6 million people passed through Ben-Gurion Airport in the first three months of the year, marking a 19.2 percent increase in traffic from the same period last year. This trend continued into April, the Israel Airports Authority said, topping the April 2004 level by 24% with 840,000 travelers arriving or leaving the airport during the high season month this year. The IAA also reported a 20% rise in flights operating the Tel Aviv route in the first quarter with 19,974 flights arriving or landing during the period. El Al carried the most passengers, in March followed by Continental Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines and British Airways. BA takes on jet lag British Airways has introduced a new feature on its Web site in an attempt to minimize the effects of jet lag by helping passengers plan their sleep patterns on long haul flights. By asking a series of questions covering travelers' regular sleeping patterns, how well they sleep, and the difference in time between their point of departure and destination, the "British Airways Jetlag Advisor" provides suggestions on how to best manage their flight in terms of "when to seek and avoid light" in order to reduce fatigue and other effects brought about by jet lag. The company has appointed sleep expert Chris Idzikowski as its "Dr. Sleep" to explore issues related to in-flight sleeping, including adopting sleep-promoting habits for air travel; factors affecting sleep such as lighting, oxygen supply, humidity and aroma in the aircraft; different sleeping patterns on eastbound and westbound flights; and the most effective sleep positions and techniques on board to overcome jet lag. A survey British Airways commissioned with Market Watch showed that 44% of Israelis who flew to distance destinations spent time sleeping. Some 57% said they passed the time reading, 39% watched the movie and 14% listen to music. According to the survey, the average length of sleep time is 3 hours. The British Airways jet lag advisor can be found at Fuel surcharges on the rise The rise in oil prices continues to have an impact on the airline industry with increases in the fuel surcharges that are built into ticket prices. This week, Air France said it would increase its fuel surcharge by €7 per segment on long haul flights for tickets issued from April 28. The increase will be withdrawn as soon as the price of oil drops below $60 a barrel for 30 consecutive days, the company said. Oil has risen 46% from a year ago and traded as high as $75 earlier this week. Sheetrit okays Ports upgrade Outgoing Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit has approved the proposed budget of NIS 416 million for the development of the Israel Ports Company in 2006. The budget forms part of the NIS 5.6 billion program to further develop the country's sea ports over the next few years. The budget will go to upgrade the ports in Ashdod, Haifa and Eilat. Sheetrit will step down as Transportation Minister to take over as Housing and Infrastructure Minister. He will be replaced by outgoing Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.