The southern Jordanian airport in Aqaba will begin to serve the nearby Israeli city of Eilat under a pilot scheme, from November.

If the scheme is successful, a decision is likely to be taken during 1998 to make permanent arrangements which will allow most of the international flights to the two cities to use the joint airport. Separate terminals would be built on each side of the border.

Passengers flying to Eilat will be transferred directly to the location, which is 4km (2nm) away, where they will go through passport control and customs.

During the test-phase four European flights a week, operated by Israeli carriers El Al and Arkia, will use the runway of the Jordanian airport.

Eilat's own airport is situated in the centre of the city, which means that it can only handle medium-sized aircraft and is subject to strict noise regulations because the runway is a small distance from the hotel area.

Most international flights to Eilat are operated to the Israeli Air Force base at Ovda, which is some 80km northwest of the city.

Source: Flight International