Ben-Gurion International Airport inaugurated a new passengers hall for low-cost overseas flights in the older Terminal 1, a step expected to help lower the cost of flights between Israel and Europe.
For decades, Terminal 1 was the main terminal for all flights into and out of Ben Gurion Airport. In 2004, the Airports Authority opened the more modern Terminal 3, with facilities to serve as many as ten million passengers coming into and leaving Israel each year.
The Open Skies agreement, which Israel and the European Union signed in June, called for letting foreign low-cost airlines use Terminal 1.
With Terminal Three already operating close to capacity, the Airports Authority decided to refurbish Terminal 1 as the main terminal for these low cost carriers.
More than 260,000 passengers are expected to pass through Ben-Gurion's Terminal 1 by the end of this year, compared to 185,000 passengers in 2012, an increase of 50%. The first flight to land at the terminal was by the British airline easyJet on Monday.
An expected 55 low-cost overseas flights are expected to depart from Ben-Gurion every week this winter, compared to 33 during last winter, according to the Israel Airports Authority. This is an increase of more than 66%.