Friday, February 8, 2019

Now Boarding



Yair Assaf-Shapira

The Ramon Airport, named after Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first-ever astronaut who died in the 2003 Colombia Disaster, and his son Assaf Ramon, who was killed a few years later in an aircraft accident, was opened last month, and is expected to replace the Eilat Airport. Just prior to its inauguration we had a look at the flights departing from Ben Gurion Airport, some of which are slated to take off from the new airport in the future.

A perusal of the online flight timetable on the Israel Airports Authority website shows that about 1,600 flights take to the air from Ben Gurion Airport each week. However, most of these flights use code sharing between at least two airlines, so that the actual number of take-offs is lower, more like 800 each week.

It seems that the busiest days at the airport are those before and after the weekend – Sundays (with about 300 flights) and Thursdays (with about 290).

The busiest hour is between 6:00 and 7:00, which is when about 230 flights depart each week. (As stated previously, this refers to the number of flights. The number of take-offs is lower.) All told, about one-third of the flights (approximately 500), leave at between 5:00 and 8:00 in the morning. An additional 200 flights leave between the hours of 16:00 and18:00, which is the busiest time after the morning hours. The quietest hours are those between 2:00 and 5:00 in the morning, when only 13 flights depart.

The most popular destinations (from Terminal 3) are Istanbul (with 95 weekly flights), Frankfurt (93), and Paris (82).

The airlines that are expected to move to the new Ramon Airport (which is designated ETM) are Arkia, Israir, Wizz Air, and Ryanair. Together, these four airlines are responsible for about 150 weekly departures from Ben Gurion Airport. The airlines which fly the greatest numbers of flights are El Al (with about 290 weekly flights), TAP Air Portugal (with about 80), Turkish Airlines (about 60), and easyJet (also about 60).

And what of Jerusalem? The Atarot (Kalandia) Airport was inaugurated in 1920, and until its closure in 2001, El Al and Arkia flights took off from and landed there. Currently, there doesn't seem to be any intention to re-open that airport, whose International Civil Aviation Organization code is JRS. We wish you a pleasant flight.

English translation: Gilah Kahn-Hoffmann

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