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The number of passengers flying to and from Ben-Gurion International Airport in the first three months of 2009 dropped 13.7% from the same period last year. About 1.8 million passengers passed through Ben-Gurion in the quarter, the Israel Airports Authority said.?

El Al flew 713,100 of those travelers, also down 13.7%, but the airline managed to keep its passenger market share of 39.7%. Israir saw an impressive 28.3% rise in passenger numbers, to 47,200. Of the increase, 15,000 were Nigerian Christians on pilgrimages, who arrived on 60 flights in February. The airline?s market share climbed to 2.6%.?

Arkia flew 43,500 people, down 14.7%, with a market share of 2.4%. Flights within Israel accounted for 92,700 passengers, down 1.6%. The drop in the total number of flights in and out of Ben-Gurion was steeper, down 16.4%.