Ben Gurion Airport looking to add a tent to help with overcrowding
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Ben Gurion Airport looking to add a tent to help with overcrowding

Terminal 3 saw 20 million journeys in 2017, up from 16-18 million originally planned and 18 percent more than in 2016

Thousands of people stand in line at Ben Gurion Airport's departure terminal on August 13, 2015, just some of the more than 79,800 passengers set to pass through on 457 flights during the day.  (Flash90)
Thousands of people stand in line at Ben Gurion Airport's departure terminal on August 13, 2015, just some of the more than 79,800 passengers set to pass through on 457 flights during the day. (Flash90)

Rocketing international passenger numbers at Ben Gurion Airport have prompted the Israel Airports Authority to publish a public tender for the construction of a massive, air-conditioned tent to handle extra departures.

The structure, to be built on a parking lot next to Terminal 3, is intended as a temporary solution until a permanent one can be built, The Marker, a business daily, reported Thursday.

International journeys are expected to reach 20 million for 2017  — an 18 percent increase on last year .

Airline requests for slots at the airport in 2018 are already 30% up.

Terminal 3 opened in 2004 to replace Terminal 1 as the main international gateway to and from Israel, on the basis that international journeys would reach a peak of 16 to 18 million trips per year.

Architectural drawing for new departures tent at Ben Gurion Airport, from tender documents issued by Israel Aircraft Industries, November 20, 2017.

That was well before the Open Skies agreement Israel signed with the European Union in 2012, which lifted restrictions on foreign airlines, subjecting the national carrier El Al to competition.

The tent, planned to open from the peak travel period of Passover in the spring, will measure 2,500 square meters (27,000 feet) and feature 25 check-in counters along with security machines and full baggage handling facilities.

In early 2018, an additional wing of departure gates, costing NIS 660 million ($188 million) is due to open at the airport providing an additional five parking places for large aircraft and room for eight gates and boarding bridges.

 

 

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