TEL AVIV - Israelis' traditional exodus from the country for their Pesach vacation is more intensive this year than in recent years. At the same time, more travelers are expected to enter the country, as well.
More than 200 fully loaded planes are set to fly out of Israel Wednesday and Thursday. On average, this means one plane takes off every 12 minutes.
Israelis' favorite destinations
Israelis' favorite destination this year has not changed: 30 fully booked flights are scheduled to take wandering Jews to their seders in what many local travel agents like to call the second Israel, Turkey.
However, those who can spend more than $500 on a family vacation overseas will be heading to North America. Among the favorite destinations of an additional 30 packed flights taking off in the next couple of days are New York City, Orlando, Florida, and the West Coast.
The younger, more adventurous local crowd seems to be making amends for the mass departure from neighboring Egypt in Biblical times. As many as 15,000 Israelis are set to return to Sinai, despite repeated security warnings. However, this is still only about half of the number of Israelis who spent last Pesach there.
But there will be incoming traffic as well. An El Al official reported that the airline is flying 33 percent more visitors into the country this year than last year during Pesach. Other international airlines are reporting a significant increase in the number of arriving passengers, as well.
“We have no room for tourists wanting to come to Israel,” said Ofer Kisch, CEO of Lufthansa Israel.
In total, 39,000 passengers are set to go through Ben-Gurion International Airport on Wednesday. Come Sunday, May 1, at the holiday's end, 286 flights are set to go through the airport, carrying 43,000 people in and out of the country.
All that jazz is set to conclude come May 5, with 35,000 passengers on 235 flights. That is, until next year.