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Ben Gurion Airport: The corona crisis led to a 92 percent drop in passenger traffic

The corona crisis led to a 92 percent drop in passenger traffic at Ben Gurion Airport, according to the annual summary published today (Tuesday). It was also noted that the heavy damage caused to the aviation industry, airports in Israel and the entire tourism industry in Israel, caused horizontal damage to the Israeli economy, with each job in the leisure and hospitality industries related to indirect employment of 0.4 jobs in other industries.

An analysis conducted in the main economic unit of the Ministry of Finance shows that the general damage to the economy that caused the closure of the airport in Israel caused a decrease in the activity of other industries. In addition to the approximately 9,500 workers employed in the aviation industry on the eve of the crisis, 16.5 thousand employees in other industries were injured.

As mentioned, until the outbreak of the Corona crisis, more than 140 airlines worked at Ben Gurion Airport under the open sky, while at the beginning of the crisis, there were about 60 airlines left at Ben Gurion Airport, which also reduced activity due to a dramatic decrease in passenger capacity. 200 destinations worldwide There are currently flights to only about half of the destinations due to the reduction of airlines’ operating lines.

The most popular destinations at Ben Gurion Airport over the past year have been Turkey (as a transit country), USA, Greece, UAE, France, and Ukraine. The leading companies since the beginning of the crisis were United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, El Al (which dropped to third place), Israir, which was the only Israeli company to operate throughout the crisis, and Pegasus.

In addition, the data on tourism reflect a dramatic drop – from about 4.5 million tourists in 2019, the tourist traffic dropped to only about 850,000 tourists in 2020. This is a decrease of 81 percent.

Ben Gurion Airport before the third closure (Photo: Yossi Aloni, Flash 90)
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As you may recall, on the eve of the Corona crisis, at the beginning of 2020, the development budget of the Airports Authority was about NIS 6 billion (from the Authority’s budget). The IAEA budget is derived from a derivative of 25 million passengers on international flights a year (and with an increase forecast of one million passengers a year). With the outbreak of the Corona crisis, about NIS 6 billion was frozen from the development budget. Out of 245 projects approved for 2020 and beyond, the Airports Authority had to freeze about 200 In part or in full (some of the projects are ongoing).

Also, since Israel’s airports – Ben Gurion Airport and Ramon – which constitute a strategically vital infrastructure in Israel remain open and continue to run a deficit, and in light of the fact that the state withdrew NIS 3.6 billion from the PA alone on the eve of the crisis, it is of paramount importance to maintain Rash’s financial strength. A.

In light of the cash flow forecast, the Authority acted to obtain binding credit facilities from the banking system in the amount of approximately NIS 2 billion, in order to finance its current operations and necessary development investments for 2021. At Ben Gurion Airport and upgrading the adjustment of sorting systems to the expected increase in passenger traffic in the coming years.

In addition, the Terminal 1 adaptation project to increase passenger traffic was frozen and it was decided to freeze a number of additional projects: construction of a central control unit (YAV), training of a helicopter landing pad at Ben Gurion Airport, planning and carrying out domestic operations at Haifa Port, detailed construction plan for the northern area. Food at Ben Gurion Airport, infrastructure for the construction project of checkpoints and covered parking for executive planes at Ben Gurion Airport, detailed planning for the West Ben Gurion Airport interchange (Kfar Chabad interchange), planning of the alternative airport to Herzliya, establishment of a logistics center at Ben Gurion Airport, establishment of a restaurant The port is Terminal 1 and the training of offices and operational complexes for airlines and ground service companies at Ben Gurion Airport.

Ben Gurion Airport is empty (photographers have no connection to the article) (Photo: Mark Israel Salem)Ben Gurion Airport is empty (photographers have no connection to the article) (Photo: Mark Israel Salem)

“The corona is no less than an existential threat to airports and airlines, and has a decisive impact on large circles living and nourished by the world of aviation,” the Airports Authority warned, “the authority said. In the current budget, salary expenses were reduced by hundreds of millions of shekels. They were retired early and a plan is being promoted these days to send more employees to early retirement.

In addition, at the beginning of March, about 3,500 employees were immediately taken on unpaid leave, overtime for all employees was canceled and an initial ten percent cut in executive pay was made in the first phase. Subsequently, another 15 percent was added to the four-month cut.

The Airports Authority also noted that losses to airlines in 2020 are estimated at about $ 118.5 billion, as more than 6,700 routes were closed in Europe and the average drop in demand for flights compared to the previous year was about 66 percent. Global passenger traffic fell from 4.5 billion passengers in 2019, to 1.8 billion in 2020. The entire industry has declined to the level of activity of 2003. The expectation is that by 2021 the global aviation industry will total 2.8 billion passengers.

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