Days after facing allegations of nepotism in its ranks, the Israel Airports Authority said more efficient management led to a strong rise in revenue for the first nine months of 2005.
Revenue reached NIS 1.3 billion from January to September, showing a rise of 19.2 percent from the same period last year.
The IAA, which is responsible for running the country's airports and border crossings, said the main source of income for the period came from its commercial dealings, which jumped 29% to NIS 717.2 million. Income from services and charges to airliners increased 10.7% to NIS 194m., while those from passengers contributed NIS 400m. to the total - 8.5% more than last year. Net income was NIS 54.4m. for the nine-month period, the IAA said.
Gabi Ofir, CEO of the IAA attributed the positive results to better management of the authority's budget and to its running a more stringent operation.
The level of revenue, Ofir said, would enable the authority to keep airport charges at a low rate relative to global levels.
For the third quarter ended September 30, revenue reached NIS 504m. and net income was NIS 84m.
Last month, state Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss accused the IAA of an unusually high level of nepotism as the number of employees related to other employees nearly doubled over the last five years to 719 by October 2005 - figures which IAA Chairman Tzvi Shalom rejected this week in a speech to the Knesset.
The IAA's boost in revenues coincides with the resurgence in tourism to the country and traffic into Ben Gurion Airport this year.
The Incoming Tour Operators Association said Wednesday that November experienced an 82% rise in group tourism to Israel. The number of tourists traveling in a group grew to 54,000 in November, from 30,000 in the same month last year. This brings the figure for the year to approximately 500,000, compared to the 280,000 group tourists that arrived in the first 11 months of 2004.