The Israel Airports Authority announced Monday that it plans to significantly expand Ben-Gurion Airport during the next five years in a $1.43 billion project.
The upgrade was initiated as a result of an increased number of passengers traveling through the airport, which serves as the primary international gateway in and out of the Jewish state.
Since the beginning of 2017, Ben-Gurion Airport — located on the periphery of Tel Aviv — has seen an 18-percent increase in international passenger turnover, with the 20 millionth passenger of the year arriving this week, according to the Airports Authority.
The Airports Authority forecasted that 30 million passengers will travel through Ben-Gurion Airport during the next five years.
Among the various elements in the airport’s expansion are 86 new check-in counters and stations for self check-in, six screening machines in the airport’s security zone, eight passenger boarding bridges, two shuttle gates, and other modifications designed to accommodate additional aircraft.
Since Israel signed the Open Skies agreement with the European Union in 2012, which has brought more flights to and from European countries at reduced prices, traffic at Ben-Gurion Airport has increased significantly.
Tourism to Israel has reached an all-time high in 2017, with the country receiving its record-setting 3 millionth tourist in a single year this November.