Israel — Airports
Ben Gurion International Airport
The largest and busiest of Israel’s airports is Ben Gurion International Airport, located just outside Lod city some 12 miles from Tel Aviv. The facility is a hub for national carrier El Al, as well as for Arkia Israel Airlines and Israir Airlines, and serves around 11 million passengers every year. It’s the international gateway to the Holy Land and one of the most intensely monitored airports in the world with regularly heightened security.
The complex has two working terminals, Terminal 3 being the newest and replacing Terminal 1 as the international gateway to Israel. Terminal 1 now deals with domestic, charter and low-cost flights, while Terminal 2 was recently demolished. El Al offers the most international flights, but US destination including New York-JFK, Los Angeles, Newark and Philadelphia are served by a number of US airlines such as US Airways. Other full-service airlines operating at the airport include Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Korean Air, and a selection of low-cost carriers including easyJet. European destinations served include London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Athens, Brussels, Milan, Paris, and Rome.
Passenger services include ATMs, currency exchange and banking services, Wi-Fi internet access, five VIP lounges, childcare facilities and disabilities support, synagogues, medical clinics, travel agents and a good choice of coffee shops serving snacks. For meals, there are two Pizza Huts and two Burger Ranches, although nothing traditionally Israeli so get your last bite of falafel in the city before you head home. A wide choice of duty-free stores is found airside in Terminal 3 and various shops are set landside in both terminals. Parking facilities and car rental are available and transportation is via an on-complex train station, bus or taxi.
Sde Dov Airport
Located in Tel Aviv, Sde Dov Airport handles domestic flights to Haifa, the Galilee, the Golan Heights and Eilat. Its annual passenger throughput exceeds 700,000 and is a joint military/civilian facility with around 40 percent of its aircraft movements by Israeli Air Force planes. Its two terminals have commercial and military flights offered by Arkia Israel Airlines, Israir, Ayat Aviation and Tourism and Elron Airways.
Destinations served include Eilat, Hifa, Ovda, Rosh Pina and Ein Yahav, and the arrivals hall baggage carousels are reached by a brief bus trip. The departures hall has seating, a café and washrooms, and the second terminal is used mainly for arrivals. Parking facilities are found outside the complex as motor vehicles are not allowed on the airport’s grounds.
Ovda International Airport
Israel’s second international air hub, the Ovda facility, is the gateway to the southern resort town of Eilat, but take note larger jets cannot use the location’s one short runway. The facility is served by three domestic and seven international airlines, and supports flights to Moscow with Aeroflot, Paris with El Al, Helsinki with Finnair and Amsterdam with Arkefly, as well as a number of seasonal trips from northern European destinations.
The airport’s annual passenger throughput stands at over 100,000 a year, but will be closing once the new Eilat International Airport is completed in 2014. A cafeteria, restaurant, souvenir shop, duty-free store and medical clinic are provided and transportation is by taxi or public bus.