The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) this week announced a NIS 50 million ($15.3 USD) plan to completely digitize its check-in and security processes at Ben Gurion Airport.
While a number of processes will be changed, some of the bigger ones that will heavily impact the passenger experience include:
- New check-in desks will allow outbound passengers to weigh their own luggage, print tags, and attach it themselves before loading it onto a luggage carousel.
- Increased self-check-in kiosks for passengers wanting to either check in or print a boarding pass.
- Extra check-in screening areas for travelers with only carry-on luggage.
The Israel Ministry of Tourism said that the goal is to “shorten lines for check-in and eliminate the initial security check,” which it hopes will make traveling through the airport an easier, and quicker, experience.
The IAA expects the airport, which is the hub for carriers such as El Al, Israir Airlines, Arkia, and Sun D'Or, to reach 18 million passengers in 2022 and for that number to increase to 24 million in 2023, so the digitization could not come at a better time.
Currently, between 70,000 and 80,000 passengers pass through Ben Gurion each day and, just like so many airports in Europe and North America, passengers have been experiencing longer than normal wait times because of staffing issues and long lines at security and check-in lines. Recently a Google engineering lead set up a website that predicts how crowded the airport is likely to be at a certain time.