Some 2.64 million passengers flew in and out of Israel in the first quarter of 2014, an 8.2% increase over the same time in 2013, the Israel Airports Authority reported Thursday.
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The number of incoming passengers on international flights climbed 6.9%, to 1.3 million, while the number of passengers flying out of the country rose 7.6%, to 1.34 million, the IAI said. The number of takeoffs rose a faster 9.25%, to 20,600 in the three months.
El Al, the country’s flag carrier, saw its passenger volumes increase by 7.3%, to about 544,300, giving it the biggest share of the market in Israel.
In second place was Turkish Airlines, which flew 108,300 passengers, an 81.4% jump from a year ago, while United Airlines was third, flying 58,600 passengers, a 17% increase.
Travel to Turkey has revived in the past year after a chill in relations following the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident deterred Israelis from visiting what had once been a popular destination.
The United States was the top overseas destination, with 212,200 passengers flying there, unchanged from the same time in 2013. Turkey was No. 2, with the number of passenger rising 80% to 108,300. Russia followed with 124,700 passengers, an increase from a year ago of 16.2%.