New Eilat airport gets green light

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 28, 2011

The government has authorised the building of a new airport at Eilat to serve an expected 1.5 million passengers a year.

The current airport is in the centre of town and, by building a new airport at Timna Valley some 25 km north of Eilat, valuable land will be freed up for development. The project is expected to cost NIS 1.6bn (£300m) and to take three years to complete.

Due to the current airport's lack of capacity, some flights to Eilat land at Uvda Air Force Base, an hour's drive from the town. The mix of military and civilian flights into the small base has caused a series of near-collisions over the past two years. All civilian flights will be in and out of the new airport once it starts operations.

Due to its distance from the centre of the country, the new Eilat airport will not function as Israel's second international hub airport.

Transport experts have argued for years that Israel cannot go on relying solely on Ben Gurion Airport due to lack of capacity and noise restrictions. The Transport Ministry has yet to propose a site for the new international airport.

Last updated: 1:56pm, July 28 2011