Going abroad is about to become even more expensive, at least if you fly through Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion International Airport. Transportation Ministry director general Gideon Siterman and the treasury agreed late last week to nearly double outgoing travel tax from Ben Gurion International Airport's Terminal 3, to $21 per passenger, up from the current $13. Other airline service fees at the airport are also slated to go up, bringing in an additional $70 million in annual revenues for the Israel Airports Authority (IAA). But travelers through Terminal 1 will get a 50% discount, paying only $10 travel tax. The association of travel agents has already voiced its intense disapproval of any increase in tax.

The agreement now passes on to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, with the intention of submitting a joint proposal for approval by the Economic Affairs Committee of the Knesset.

Travel fees have remained unchanged since 1997. The additional costs charged by the IAA are expected to be passed on to customers, making airline tickets more expensive as well.

IAA revenues have been hit by the falling dollar exchange rate, but increased tourism in 2008 has offset the losses somewhat. During a meeting with the Aviation Safety forum held in late March, IAA chairman Eli Ovadia said travel taxes should be raised 89%. Ovadia said the devaluation of the dollar in recent months has highlighted the need to adjust the tax, which is among the lowest in the west.

The IAA profits from travel, parking, fueling and luggage unloading taxes, in addition to commercial revenues such as duty-free shop franchises and rental of commercial and office space at the airport.