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The number of international passengers - Israelis and foreigners - traveling through Ben-Gurion International Airport in 2006 rose 3.6 percent to 8.8 million.

This is also 15.3 percent higher than the number in 2004 - the year the new terminal was opened, according to figures released yesterday by the Israel Airports Authority (IAA).

According to the head of the IAA, Gabi Ophir, the trend of passenger growth will continue in 2007.

The number of planes taking off and landing at Ben-Gurion for international flights rose by 8.8 percent in 2006, reaching 67,766. This is 14.5 percent over the 2004 number.

The major destinations for these flights are the U.S., Turkey, France, Germany and England.

El Al flew 40.6 percent of these flights, Lufthansa 4.16 percent, Continental 3.96 percent, Israir 3.85 percent and Arkia 3.83 percent.