Travel, Ben Gurion

Terminal 1 at Ben Gurion airport has reopened

Terminal 1, known for its low cost flights and budget airlines has opened earlier this month in an attempt to boost tourism after the hit the war had on the travel industry to Israel.

Ben Gurion flights (Photo: Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)

The Israel Airports Authority have announced the early reopening of Ben Gurion Airport's Terminal 1. The terminal has now started welcoming domestic flights since May 27, followed closely by international flights resuming on June 2. This accelerated timeline comes after a seven-month closure due to the outbreak of war with Gaza as well as a significant decline in passenger traffic.

With the plummeting in tourism due to the conflict, Israel's travel industry took a massive hit with terminal 1 as well as multiple international airlines ceasing flight until further notice. Now, roughly 40 flights a week will be operating to and from cities such as; Athens, Berlin, Bari, Budapest, Malta, Milan, and Paphos with fees expecting to be far lower than that of Terminal 3. Other major European airlines have also started to gradually increase flights to Israel including British Airways who will initially operate on a limited schedule.

According to the Israel Airports Authority, all preparations for Terminal 1's reopening have been finalized, ensuring full functionality and comprehensive passenger services. Airlines scheduled to utilize Terminal 1 include prominent carriers such as El Al, Arkia, Israir, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Transavia France, and Georgian Airways. Passengers are advised to confirm their departure terminal, as some airlines will operate from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

The first flight following the grand reopening was operated by Arkia to Eilat, scheduled for Monday, May 27, departing at 6:30 a.m. As part of the reopening, Gate 4 will offer dedicated services for passengers with special needs, while a complimentary shuttle service will facilitate connectivity between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, especially for train passengers. Adjacent parking facilities will also resume operations.

Gate 7 will host a regulated taxi service, with an additional shuttle service provided exclusively for Eilat residents traveling to central Tel Aviv from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Sunday through Thursday. Operational hours differ for Fridays and Saturdays to accommodate Sabbath observers.

Ben-Gurion Airport advises travelers heading to Eilat to pre-register for the ALPHA security check system to expedite procedures, recommending arrival at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international departures. Online check-in, printing boarding passes, and ensuring carry-on luggage compliance with security regulations are also strongly encouraged.

In June, approximately 1.4 million passengers are expected to pass through Ben-Gurion Airport on international flights. Terminal 1 anticipates handling around 1,200 flights monthly, serving approximately 200,000 passengers each month. Peak travel days in July and August could see 6,500 to 7,000 passengers per day at the terminal.

Transport and Road Safety Minister Miri Regev emphasized the significance of Terminal 1's reopening, highlighting its role in expanding flight options to and from Israel.

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