Ben Gurion International Airport (Hebrew: נמל התעופה הבינלאומי בן גוריון; Arabic: مطار بن غوريون الدولي) (IATA: TLV, ICAO: LLBG), often referred to as Natbag (נתב״ג) is Israel’s main international airport and by far the busiest airport in the country. Named after Israel’s first prime minister DavidBen-Gurion, the airport serves as a hub for EL AL, Israir Airlines, Arkia and SunD’OR. In 2016 it handled approximately 18 million passengers.It is located 19 km (12 mi) to the southeast of Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport is operated by the Israel Airport Authority, a government-owned coroparation that manages all public airports and border crossings in Israel.
Ben Gurion Airport is considered to be among the five best airports in the Middle East due to its passenger experience and its high level of security. Security Forces such as Israel Police officers, IDF and Israel Border Police soldiers are complemented by airport security guards who operate both in uniform and undrcover. The airport has been the target of several terrorist attacks, but no attempt to hijack a plane departing from Ben Gurion airport has succeeded.
The airport began as an airstrip of four concrete runways on the outskirts of the town of Lydda (now Lod). It was built in 1936, during the British Mandate for Palestine, chiefly for military purposes. First known as Wilhelma airport, it was renamed RAF Station Lydda in 1943. During World War ll it served as a major airfield for military air transport and aircraft ferry operations between military bases in Europe, Africa, the Middle East (mainly Iraq and Persia) and South/Southeast Asia.
The first civilian transatlantic route, New York City to Tel Aviv, was inaugurated by TWA in 1946. The British gave up Lydda airport at the end of April 1948. Soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces captured the airport on 10 July 1948, in Operation Danny, transferring control to the newly declared Stateof Israel. In 1948 the Israelis changed the name of the airport from Lydda to Lod.Flights resumed on 24 November 1948.That year, 40,000 passengers passed through the terminal. By 1952, the number had risen to 100,000 a month. Within a decade, air traffic increased to the point where local flights had to be redirected to Tel Aviv’s other airport, the Sde Dov airfield (SDV) on the city’s northern coast. By the mid-1960s, 14 international airlines were landing at the airport.