New international airport – at last a move forward

It has a name, but work is yet to begin. The new international airport near the Israeli resort of Eilat, on the Red Sea, will be named after Ilan Ramon – the Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003 – and his son Asaf, an Israeli air force F-16 pilot who died in a crash in 2009.

The saga of a new international airport in Eilat has been going on for years. First the location was not agreed between the involved parties, then the idea  to build a joint Israeli-Jordanian airport was mooted. Bureaucracy overshadowed the process.

Now it seems there is a chance that work will begin next year. The Israeli government has approved the project, which will be then be carried out by the Israeli Airport Authority (IAA)

The cost of building the airport in Timna, north of Eilat, is estimated at $500 million.

The new airport will have a 3,600 meter runway that will allow large jets to take off to any destination in Europe.

The planned airport will serve as an alternate to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion. Currently when this airport is closed flights are diverted to Cyprus and Jordan.

A senior source in the Israeli IAA said on August 10 that the plan is to issue an international tender based on a “turnkey” project.

“We want to sign the contract with one organisation and get the keys after it is built and ready for operations,” the source said.

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