B-G Adds Extra Passport Control Point for Outbound Passengers

Israel is tightening its borders: People departing via Ben-Gurion International Airport will now have to pass a second passport control point before boarding a flight.

In addition to presenting their passports at border control after checking their luggage, passengers will have them scanned once again at the gate, before boarding the plane. Until now, people only had to present a boarding card at that point.

The new regulations could serve several purposes - a response to specific threats; closing a breach that lets passengers bypass border control; or increasing the chances of catching people barred from leaving the country.

Ben-Gurion already has one of the most elaborate departure procedures among international airports. After passing a security checkpoint at the entrance to the airport, passengers come to Terminal 3, where they present their passports and tickets. A security official examines passports to determine they aren't forged, and assess the risk presented by the passenger: Israeli passport holders undergo less rigorous checks down the line.

Passengers then proceed to the check-in counter, where they check luggage and receive their boarding passes. After that comes border control, where officers scan passports and determine the person is not forbidden from leaving the country.

Passengers can also go through a biometric scanner instead of waiting in line for an officer at this point.

Afterward, passengers needed only to present their boarding passes at the gate.

Now, passengers will have to pass through another passport control point, presenting a passport or a biometric identification slip at the gate.

The Israel Airports Authority said 2.3 million passengers were expected to pass through Ben-Gurion in July and August, 9 percent less than during these months last year. Airplane traffic is expected to drop 1 percent, to 15,000 flights. The main destination is the United States, with 145,000 passengers expected in July, and 147,000 in August, on more than 1,000 flights.