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Israel Society & Culture: Israel Airports Authority

Ben-Gurion Airport
Tel. (03) 9712804/54
Website (Hebrew):

Since June, 1978, this statutory authority has been responsible for running and developing eight airports: Ben-Gurion (Lod), Eilat, Atarot (Jerusalem), Mahanayim, Sede Dov, Herzliya, Haifa, and Beersheba. The Authority is also in charge of one heliport, in Mitzpe Ramon, and the civil air transport systems in the north and south of the country.

In early 1980, the government instructed the Authority to administer the border crossing at Neot Sinai, and provided the requisite financing. In April, 1982, after the Israel-Egypt peace treaty was signed and the frontier redrawn, the Authority was instructed to administer the border stations at Rafiah, Nitzana, and Taba.

Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport had it's busiest year ever in 2016, with approximately 18 million passengers arriving and departing through it's terminals.  

The readers of the popular magazine Travel + Leisure ranked Ben-Gurion International airport as the eigth best airport in the world in July 2017.  The rankings were based on travelers' experiences of access, check-in and security, food, shopping and design.  In 2016 Travel + Leisure readers ranked the airport as the sixth best in the world.  

Authority Functions

  • To maintain, operate, develop, and run the airports, to oversee their planning and construction, and to provide ancillary services for all related activities;

  • To attend to the security of the airports and of people, goods, aircraft, structures, installations, and equipment in these facilities, in accordance with the directives of the Minister of Transport.

A cardinal principle in Authority operations is that the Authority function as an independent, financially self-sufficient enterprise.

The Authority is run by a 15-member public board, appointed to a four-year term of office by the Minister of Transport with Government endorsement. The board comprises seven public representatives, seven representatives of government ministries, and a chairperson appointed by the Minister of Transport with Government approval. The administration is headed by the Authority director-general, who reports to the board. The organizational system is divided into four subsystems: Head Office, Ben-Gurion Airport, Domestic Airports, and Operations.

The Head Office deals primarily with raising capital, managing assets, financial and budgetary approval and control, setting of standards, labor management, labor negotiations, and public relations. The Head Office is also in charge of planning, data processing, international relations, and developing and promoting new business. The Head Office has the following subagencies, each headed by a deputy director-general: Economic, Financial, and Commercial Affairs, Personnel Administration, Planning, Engineering, and Operations. A Standards and Organization office is headed by a chief administrator.

Because operations and safety are key issues in the administration of civil aviation in Israel, an Operations Office was set up in the Authority, under a deputy director-general. Its 110 employees are specialists in general and flight control, safety, and navigational aids. The Office manages air traffic in conjunction with the Israel Air Force, monitors control tower activities at all Authority airports, and supervises the joint civilian-IAF control units.

Ben-Gurion International Airport (BGIA) is the Authority's largest operational unit, with a workforce of some 1,250, under the BGIA Manager for Operations, Maintenance, and Security. The BGIA Manager is also responsible for providing operational and maintenance services for Israel's domestic airports.

Each airport is headed by a manager, appointed by the board with the approval of the Minister of Transport and on the recommendation of the Authority director-general. The airport manager is responsible for airport procedures, operations, and maintenance.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry;
Eytan Holon. Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport Places on World top 10 List, Jerusalem Post, (July 12, 2017)