Ben-Gurion Airport Breaks Records as Tourism Rebounds

September is emerging as a record breaker for Ben-Gurion International Airport, Israel's primary gateway to the world. Experts have cited these figures as evidence that Israeli tourism is reviving after the Second Lebanon War last summer.

The first week of September saw a 36-percent hike in the number of passengers over the parallel period last year, according to Israel Airport Administration figures.

In the first week of the month, 234,000 passengers passed through Ben-Gurion on 1,650 flights. Only 172,000 people flew during the parallel period, with only 1,343 flights.

Today, Rosh Hashanah eve, some 34,000 passengers, both Israelis and tourists, are scheduled to pass through Ben-Gurion on a total of 202 arriving and departing flights. And yesterday, 41,000 people boarded and arrived on a total of 241 flights. Tomorrow the airport is expected to see 165 flights and 27,000 people.

Since January, an estimated 7 million people have passed through Ben-Gurion. This is 13 percent more than the numbers for the comparable period in 2006, with 6.25 million people. So far this year, Ben-Gurion has serviced 51,443 flights, compared to 47,405 in the parallel.

A total of 113,000 passengers landed in Israel in the first week of September, compared to 83,000 during this period last year. Another 120,000 departed the country, compared to 86,000 in 2006.