Israel's Overloaded Tel Aviv Airport Expects 4.3 Million Travelers This Summer

Ben-Gurion Airport's director says that another 1,000 employees are needed to provide proper service, but that number will not be reached until next year

Hadar Kane
Hadar Kane
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נתב"ג לפני פסח. הקניות בחו"ל הקטינו את התמ"ג
Lines at Ben-Gurion Airport last month.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Hadar Kane
Hadar Kane

If you thought the lines at Ben-Gurion airport were long over Passover, just wait until this summer. The Airports Authority predicted on Monday that some two million people will pass through the airport in July and 2.3 million in August.

Last month, which including the Passover holiday, the airport handled just 1.5 million travelers.

The announcement about the expected crowds at the airport came a day after the airport’s managing director, Shmuel Zakai, told the Knesset that another 1,000 employees were needed to provide proper service. But he said the airport would finish hiring these workers only close to Passover 2023.

The Knesset discussion took place in response to last month’s reports of a manpower shortage that led to people waiting in line for hours at the airport.

From this Wednesday to next Sunday alone, the airport expects to handle 300,000 passengers on 860 international flights. Sunday is the Shavuot holiday.

The Airports Authority has announced some steps to help cope with the expected crowds. For instance, its employees will help out with security checks and passenger service around Shavuot and this summer, as they did during Passover.

Additionally, all services, including duty-free stores, check-in and boarding, will be made available at Terminal 1. People who don’t check bags will board there, and several airlines will operate out of this terminal, including Ryanair, Wizz Air, El Al, Israir, EasyJet, Transavia, Arkia, Pegasus and Tus.

The Airports Authority is asking El Al passengers to arrive four hours before their flights (other airlines open their check-in counters only three hours before the flight) and to check the flight information boards at the airport to determine which terminal their flight leaves from.

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