Ben Gurion International Airport
is the largest and busiest international airport
, with about 10.2 million passengers passing through it in 2007. It was known as Wilhelma Airport when it was first founded by the British Mandate of Palestine
. It was known as Lod Airport from 1948 until 1973, when the name was changed to honor Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion
The airport is located near the city of Lod, 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv. It is operated by the Israel Airports Authority, a government-owned corporation that manages all public airports and border crossings in Israel. Ben Gurion Airport is on Highway 1, the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway, accessible by car or public bus.
Ben Gurion Airport is the hub of El Al, Israir Airlines, Arkia Israel Airlines, and Sun d'Or International Airlines. During the 1980s and 1990s, it was a focus city of the now-defunct Tower Air. Today, Terminal 3 is used for international flights, and Terminal 1 is used for domestic flights. The airport has three runways and is used by commercial, private, and military aircraft.
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 undercover. The airport has been the target of several terrorist attacks, but no attempt to hijack a plane departing from Ben Gurion airport has succeeded.