Ben Gurion International Airport will be on “fast forward” in order to cope with the crowds passing through for the upcoming holidays.
The Israel Airports Authority is planning to implement a new expedited system that combines Internet check-in with a special hand luggage-only line at the airport. Those who have met the requirements who will be swept through security and baggage processing in record time, slicing their waiting time to a minimum.
More than half a million travelers are expected to pass through the international airport this Passover holiday season. The heaviest travel days are expected to be on Thursday, April 5 – which 49,000 passengers are expected to arrive and depart – and Sunday, April 15, when 50,000 passengers are expected to leave and return.
The all-time high for incoming tourism was broken last month with an increased of six percent in visitors -- 232,000 visitors entered Israel last month -- over the same period a year earlier despite the threat of war. The number of day visitors was 55 percent higher than in February 2011, and four percent higher than the previous record for the same month, set in February 2011. Top tourist attractions continue to be the Kotel (Western Wall), Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Museum, Masada Judean Desert Fortress and the Dead Sea.
The first and last days of Passover are national holidays in the Jewish State, with the first day falling on the Sabbath and the last day the following Friday. Outside of Israel, the last day also will fall on the Sabbath because of the additional day for festivals ini the Diaspora.
The intermediate days are popular times for families to set forth on field trips they normally don't have time for – seeing national parks and exploring sites that are especially tailored for children.
This year the Passover holiday begins at sunset on Friday, April 6.