Columbia space shuttle victim to be honoured with airport

Ilan Ramon

Ilan Ramon

Israel is planning to build a new international airport and name it in memory of the Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia disaster.

The new airport, which was given approval by the cabinet on Sunday, will cost more than £300 million to build. It is to be located 18 kilometres north of Eilat in the Timna park area.

It will be the second international airport in Israel, and is being planned to ease air traffic at Lod's Ben Gurion airport. The cabinet spokesman said it would "promote the economic progress" of Eilat.

The cabinet has decided that the airport will be named after Ilan Ramon and his son Asaf Ramon.

The elder Ramon was an astronaut who was killed in 2003 when the Columbia space shuttle disintegrated as it re-entered the earth's atmosphere.

Six years later, his son died in a crash while serving in the Israeli Air Force.

Last updated: 1:37pm, July 25 2011