Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Ben-Gurion International Airport. Photo by Daniel Bar On
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Air cargo traffic to and from Israel was 4.3% lower last month than it was in April of last year, the latest indication of a decline in the volume of cargo. The figures for the first third of the year, from January through April, were 3.7% off the pace of the corresponding quarter in 2011, TheMarker has learned.

The numbers, which are contained in internal Israel Airport Authority documentation, reflect a slowdown in import and export activity in Israel, at least as measured by airborne cargo.

About 100,200 tons of cargo where flown in and out of Ben-Gurion International Airport during the first four months of 2012, compared to about 104,000 tons during the same period last year. Passenger planes carried 47,500 tons of the cargo and while cargo planes solely devoted to moving goods accounted for 52,700 tons.

Among the carriers suffering a decline in cargo business were El Al Israel Airlines, which transported 15,700 tons, nearly 17% less on its separate cargo flights for the first four months this year than last; Federal Express, whose business sank by nearly 9% to 3,100 tons; and Korean Air, whose cargo business was down by over 16%.

El Al carried the most cargo of any airline on passenger flights in and out of Ben-Gurion Airport from January through April, at 18,100 tons. This was down very slightly from the period last year. Ranked by cargo volume on passenger flights for the four months, Lufthansa was second and Swiss third.

C.A.L. Cargo Airlines had the airport's largest volume on separate cargo flights for the first four months, at 20,600 tons, but saw its cargo business decline by 2.5% for January and April compared to the period last year.

On the other hand, MNG Cargo Airlines, whose business here was small by comparison at about 4,000 tons in and out of the country, but that represented an increase of 33%.

And despite the strained relations in recent years between Israel and Turkey, Turkish Airlines experienced an increased volume on special cargo flights. It shipped 2,800 tons for the four-month period, 11.4% more than in January through April of 2011.