Turkish Airlines flew more passengers to and from Israel than any other foreign airline in 2014, for the second year in a row, according to a report just released by the Israel Airports Authority, as reported by Haaretz.
“The Turkish carrier flew 690,000 passengers in or out of Ben-Gurion International Airport last year, a 19 percent increase over 2013, when 582,800 passengers flew Turkish to or from the Tel Aviv-area airport. The 2013 figure represented about a 60 percent increase over 2012,” said the report.
Among foreign airlines, the German carrier Lufthansa was second to Turkish Airlines, with 385,000 passengers last year, 4.8 percent more than 2013. Following closely behind was the discount British airlines EasyJet, with 380,000, a whopping 87.5 percent increase compared to 2013, according to the report.
Israel’s national flag carrier, El Al, remains the largest carrier overall, with about 4.6 million passengers departing or arriving on the airline last year. With its 4.6 million passengers, El Al saw an 8.6 percent growth in passenger volume in 2014 compared to 2013. Arkia Israel Airlines was the third largest carrier with 510,000 passengers in 2014, placing it behind Turkish Airlines, but Arkia experienced only a 0.7 percent growth in traffic last year compared to 2013.
When measured by specific airports, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport was first in terms of the number of passengers flying to or from Ben-Gurion, although at 800,000, it represented a 4 percent decline from 2013. In second place was New York’s Kennedy airport with 680,000 passengers, nearly unchanged from 2013. The third spot among airports went to the Istanbul Atatürk Airport with 620,000 passengers, a 9.8 percent increase over 2013. Many of the passengers traveling to Istanbul from Israel use the airport to connect to onward destinations.