B-G Airport Holiday Traffic Expected to Be Lower This Passover

Number of Israelis heading to Turkey expected to halve this coming passover.

Passenger traffic at Ben-Gurion Airport is expected to be 10% lower during the Passover holiday period than it was the same time last year, Haaretz has learned.

Five hundred and twenty thousand passengers flew from Ben-Gurion Airport on over 3,200 flights during the 2008 Passover period, an increase of 25% on 2007.

Last year's numbers are likely to drop as the tourism industry continues to feel the impact of the financial crisis, which has caused a decrease in both Israelis travelling abroad and in the arrival of tourists to Israel, mainly from the United States.

The number of Israelis heading to Turkey is expected to halve this coming Passover. Turkey was the most popular destination last year with more than 400 flights leaving for that country during the holiday period.

Israeli tourism to Turkey took a nosedive after an incident in late January at the Davos World Economic Conference, where Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off the stage after verbally sparring with President Shimon Peres over Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

At the time tourism officials reported massive cancelations of Turkish vacations booked for the Pesach holiday period and for this summer.

Traffic to Italy, France, Britain and the United States, all popular destinations last year with more than 200 flights each during the Passover period, is also expected to fall.