The renovated Terminal 1 at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport was inaugurated today. International low-cost airlines will use the terminal. Check-in security checks and boarding will now take place at the terminal, and low-cost passengers will not be brought to Terminal 3. Projected passenger traffic through the terminal is 1.4 million passengers a year (in one direction, because all landings will still take place at Terminal 3). Terminal 1, the older terminal, built in 1937 (then called Wilhelma Airport) has been redesigned in the style of the early days of the state, with retro elements and statues of prominent persons such as Prime Ministers David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin.
The renovation included the installing of a NIS 60 million hold baggage screening (HBS) security system, and the area for checking carry-on luggage has been extended. Biometeric passport stands have been added, and nine exit gates for airplanes have been opened. The renovated terminal also includes a duty-free area.
33 flights are expected to take off daily. The airlines operating from Terminal 1 will pay half the parking fees paid at Terminal 3. These include El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) (through Up), Arkia Airlines Ltd., Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd., easyJet (the strongest low-cost airline in Israel, whose executives attended the opening of the terminal this morning), Wizz Air, Pegasus, Ryanair, Blue Bird Airways, and others.
Israel Airports Authority director general Yaakov Ganot said that passenger traffic had tripled over the past three years. "The open skies policy is a situation that is not merely increasing duty-free sales (which pay for a large proportion of infrastructure construction). We have reached a situation a situation in which we have to reject requests from airlines because we lack time slots for them. The decision to renovate Terminal 1 follows an uncomfortable period in which we were all busy with Timna Airport and the building the fourth wing at Terminal 3. For lack of choice, we decided to go ahead."
Timna Airport near Eilat is scheduled to open later this year.
Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz said, "When I became minister of transport in 2009, there were nine million passengers, and now we're talking about 20 million passengers in 2018. The results of open skies have exceeded the forecasts."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on June 19, 2017
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