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Ben-Gurion International Airport was ranked first among 40 European airports, and fifth out of 77 around the world, in a survey of the Airports Council International (ACI).

Ben-Gurion also placed first among airports in its size category, according to the results of the ACI survey, which were released yesterday by the Israel Airports Authority (IAA).

Israel's main international airport received the highest satisfaction rating in the European region, 3.94 out of 5, according to the IAA. Scores of other airports ranked similarly: Vienna, 3.51; Munich, 3.6; Amsterdam, 3.57; Brussels, 3.9; Zurich, 3.76; Copenhagen, 3.54; and Helsinki, 3.71.

The survey relates to the third quarter of 2006, which was the first time Ben-Gurion participated in the ACI survey.

The best airports in the world, according to the survey, were all concentrated in Southeast Asia: Hong Kong, Inchon, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The survey is conducted among 77 airports all around the world quarterly.

Every quarter, 350 passengers are quizzed on their satisfaction with the service, infrastructure and facilities at each of the various airports. The 34 questions are the same for all airports.

The survey is conducted at the departure gate, and is based on a random sampling determined by the international organization.

IAA director general Gabi Ofir said: "The results of the survey speak for themselves and they are a result of a massive investment in infrastructure and service in IAA facilities, particularly in Terminal 3, in recent years. The IAA sees serving the passenger as a central goal and will continue to invest in improving the experience of airport users."

"We see Ben-Gurion Airport as the showcase of the State of Israel - and I am pleased that the world sees us in such a positive light," added Ofir.