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The 30's

Ben Gurion airport, which today serves as the entrance and exit gateway of the State of Israel, was established by the British Mandate authorities in the Land of Israel as part of a broad plan to lay down airports in Mandate-time (pre-State) Israel.

Since its establishment and to the present day, the airport has served as the main entrance and exit gateway for both the citizens and guests of the State of Israel, and as such bears witness to the history of the State and the main events  which formulated it.

In 1935 work began on the infrastructure and in April 1937, four concrete runways were completed, each 800m long and 100 m wide.

Prior to that, when the runways were still made of compressed gravel, twin engine Dragon Rapid aircraft of the Egyptian MisrAir airline, used to land there, en route from Cairo, which was later extended to Nicosia, Beirut and Baghdad.

The completion of the runways enabled heavier aircraft to begin using the airport, and these commenced landing at an increasing rate. The Dutch airline, KLM, linked Western Europe with the Far East (Indonesia), via Lod airport, using three engined Fokker airplanes. The Polish airline, LOT, consistently flew from Warsaw to Lod in Dakota DC3 aircraft and even the Czech airline operated a fixed route from Eastern Europe via Italy.

One of the most significant routes was that of the British “Imperial Airways” airline, on the London to Bombay route, using large Hannibal and Atlanta aircraft.

In 1937, the construction of an aircraft workshop (hangar) was started, in preparation for the Hannibal aircraft which were to arrive from  the British “Imperial Airways”.. This workshop, that was built with the assistance of a German company, continues serving El Al's Boeing jets to this very day.

After the Second World War broke out, routes of national airlines from Paris, Brussels, and Zurich were added, mainly using Dakota aircraft. At the beginning of the war, air force squadrons from Australia, Britain and the U.S. started setting themselves up in Europe and the civilian activities of the airport were reduced and the stage of military activities began.

 

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