Amid pandemic, Israel’s airport departures and arrivals down by more than 99%

Travel restrictions meant just 2,700 exits by Israelis last month, compared with 798,700 in April 2019; 6,100 Israelis returned, while just 600 foreigners entered country

The empty arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International Airport on April 12, 2020. (Flash90)
The empty arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International Airport on April 12, 2020. (Flash90)

The Central Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday issued figures on arrivals to Israel and departures from it in April, underlining the dramatic effect the coronavirus crisis has had on the country’s main gateway.

There were some 2,700 departures by Israelis compared to 798,700 in April 2019 — a staggering 99.6% drop. (The number of Israelis who left the country was 1,900, with some 400 of them leaving twice or more.)

Some 6,100 Israelis returned from abroad, compared to 766,000 in April 2019 — a decrease of 99.2%. The vast majority of the entrances and exits were via Ben Gurion Airport.

Meanwhile, some 600 visitors entered the country last month, compared with 428,000 in April last year, a 99.86% drop. Foreign citizens have largely been banned from entering the country amid the pandemic since March 12.

The government in February started banning flights to and from China and a rapidly growing list of other countries hit hard by the virus, eventually calling off almost all commercial flights save for special missions to return Israelis stranded abroad to the country.

The figures show overall traffic at Ben Gurion Airport dropped by some 99.4% in April, compared to numbers recorded during the same period last year.

The empty arrivals hall at Ben Gurion International Airport on April 12, 2020. (Flash90)

The total results for January through April were less dramatic, since flights largely operated normally during January and February and gradually slowed down during March.

The total number of Israelis who left the country in the first four months of the year was 1,098,600, slightly less than half of the 2,303,500 departures recorded in the first four months last year.

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