The Transportation Ministry recently approved a major expansion plan for Ben Gurion Airport in preparation for the expected rise in the number of travelers passing through it in the coming years.
The project, estimated to cost NIS 3 billion ($840 million), will add some 80,000 square meters of floor space and up to 90 new check-in counters as well as four more conveyor belts to receive luggage, Channel 12 news reported Sunday. In addition, the duty free area is to be expanded as will border control and the parking facilities.
Following the expansion, the airport will also be able to handle more aircraft within its airspace.
Experts predict the volume of traffic at Israel’s main international airport will increase to 30 million travelers a year, up from the current 23 million. The work will focus on Terminal 3, the airport’s primary passenger terminal.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz said he approved the plan “in order to be ready within a few years for an increase of up to 30 million travelers a year and to also prepare for an increase of up to 35 million travelers in the years afterwards.”
“I did this so that everyone can fly under optimum conditions from Ben Gurion Airport,” he said in a statement.
Ben Gurion is expecting a record number of individual arrivals and departures in 2019 — more than 25 million.
As a stopgap measure to relieve congestion during the busy summer travel season, the airport plans to set up 25 temporary service counters in a structure adjacent to the overseas terminal building.
The last major expansion at Ben Gurion Airport was the opening of Terminal 3 in 2004, the construction of which cost an estimated $1 billion and which was completed four years after schedule.