Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport is set to significantly grow after the Transportation Ministry approved expansion plans worth NIS 3 billion ($840 million) to cope with growing demand, Channel 12 has revealed.
In 2018, almost 23 million passengers traveled through the airport. Within five years, passenger traffic is expected to reach 30 million annually.
Under the new plans, Ben-Gurion Airport’s main Terminal 3 will be expanded by some 80,000 square-meters, including the addition of 90 new check-in counters, four new baggage hall conveyor belts, and the expansion of the existing duty free space, immigration checkpoints and parking facilities.
A fifth passenger concourse will be constructed, branching off from the central terminal departure hall, to accommodate additional aircraft.
Existing concourses provide eight air bridges each for boarding and disembarking, three of which are suitable for wide-bodied aircraft. The fourth concourse was inaugurated in February 2018.
“I have approved an investment plan worth NIS 3 billion for the Israel Airports Authority to be ready for the increase of up to 30 million passengers a year, and to be prepared for a later increase of up to 35 million passengers,” Transportation Minister Israel Katz told Channel 12. “I have done this so that everyone will be able to fly from Ben-Gurion Airport and enjoy excellent standards.”
In January, the new Ramon Airport near Eilat opened its doors to its first passengers. Costing a total of NIS 1.7 billion ($460 million), the airport was constructed to replace the Eilat and Uvda airports previously serving domestic as well as an increasing number of international flights.
The first entirely civilian airport to open since Israel’s independence, Ramon Airport is set to welcome up to two million passengers a year, with expansion works planned to more than double its capacity to 4.2 million passengers by 2030.
It will also serve as an option to re-route large aircraft from Ben-Gurion in the case of rocket fire targeting Israel’s main international transport hub – as was threatened by Gaza terrorist groups in 2014 – or inclement weather.
A record 4,120,800 tourists visited Israel in 2018, an increase of 14% from 2017 and 42% from 2016, according to data provided by the Tourism Ministry.
A record number of Israelis also traveled out of the country, making some 8.5 million journeys in total, an increase of 12% since 2017.