Travellers in Israel's Ben Gurion Airport
Travellers in Israel's Ben Gurion Airport. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Some 1.4 million travelers passed through Ben-Gurion International Airport in July, an increase of 4.5% over July 2011, and the numbers are likely to grow in August, the Airports Authority said on Wednesday.

All told, some 2.9 million international passengers are expected to come through Ben-Gurion in the two summer months, an increase of 2.3% from last year.

The airport will be particularly crowded on Thursday, the first Thursday of the peak vacation month of August. Between 50,000 and 60,000 people will pass through and approximately 390 flights will take off or land, the authority said. Sundays and Thursday are the peak flying days during the months.

Due to the heavy traffic, the authority recommended that travelers arrive three hours ahead of their flights. Recently the authority implemented a new system that sends arrivals and departures information to smartphones and tablet computers. Its website now posts flight details in real time, 12 hours before the scheduled arrival or departure, in Hebrew, English and Arabic.

Meanwhile, the Histadrut labor federation on Wednesday declared an official labor dispute in protest of the Open Skies agreement Israel initialed Monday with the European Union. The pact, designed to increase competition in aviation, will replace bilateral agreements between Israel and each EU nation that specify which airlines are allowed to fly to which destinations.

The Histadrut's Transport Workers Union said Open Skies will hurt Israeli airlines and lead to staff cutbacks.