Atarot Airport

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Atarot Airport
Jerusalem International Airport (TEMPORARILY CLOSED)
נמל התעופה ירושלים
The closed entrance to Atarot Airport, 2010 (background: a Police jeep guarding)
Airport type Military/Public
Operator Israel Defense Forces
Location Jerusalem
Elevation AMSL 2,485 ft / 757 m
Coordinates 31°51′53″N 35°13′09″E / 31.86472°N 35.21917°E / 31.86472; 35.21917Coordinates: 31°51′53″N 35°13′09″E / 31.86472°N 35.21917°E / 31.86472; 35.21917
LLJR is located in Israel
Location of the airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 6,447 1,965 Asphalt

Atarot Airport (IATA: JRSICAO: LLJR, OJJR), (also Kalandia Airport, Qalandia Airport, and Jerusalem Airport) is a small airport located between Jerusalem and Ramallah. When it was opened in 1920 it was the first airport in the British Mandate for Palestine. It is temporarily closed since the breakout of the Second Intifada in 2001.[1]


Atarot Airport chart
Map of Jerusalem's 1967 municipal borders incorporating Atarot Airport in the north

From 1920 until 1930, the airfield in Kalandia was the only airport in the British Mandate for Palestine. It was used by the British military authorities and prominent guests bound for Jerusalem.[2] In 1931, the Mandatory government expropriated land from the Jewish village of Atarot to expand the airfield, in the process demolishing homes and uprooting fruit orchards.[3] In 1936, the airport was opened for regular flights.[4] The village of Atarot was captured and destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

From 1948 to the Six Day War in June 1967, the airport was under Jordanian control, designated OJJR. Following the Six Day War, the Jerusalem airport was incorporated into the Jerusalem city municipal area and was designated LLJR.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Israel invested considerable resources in upgrading the airport and creating the infrastructure for a full-fledged international airport but the international aviation authorities bowed to Arab political pressure[citation needed] and would not allow international flights to land there. Thus the airport was only used for domestic flights and charter flights.

Israeli Minister of Transport Haim Corfu deplaning at Atarot Airport.

During the Second Intifada in 2000, the airport became a target for stone-throwing and the runways were littered by thousands of stones[citation needed]. In 2001 the airport was closed to civilian air traffic and handed over to the Israel Defense Forces.[5]

In maps presented by Israel at the Camp David talks in the summer of 2000, Atarot was included in the Israeli built-up area of Jerusalem.[6] This was rejected by the Palestinian delegation, which envisioned it as a national airport for the Palestinians. Yossi Beilin proposed that the airport be used jointly as part of an overall sharing of Jerusalem, citing the successful model of Geneva International Airport, which is used by both Switzerland and France.

ICAO codes[edit]

Atarot Airport, 1969

The airport is sometimes shown with two different ICAO codes. The LL designator is used by ICAO for airports in Israel and OJ is the code for Jordan.

In popular culture[edit]

Airport Atarot appeared in the film, World War Z, by director Marc Forster in 2013 as the main airport of Israel that is defended from a zombie epidemic.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Larry Derfner (2001-01-23). "An Intifada Casualty Named Atarot". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  2. ^ An Empire in the Holy Land: Historical Geography of the British Administration of Palestine, 1917-1929 Gideon Biger, St. Martin's Press and Magnes Press, New York & Jerusalem, 1994, p. 152
  3. ^ Michael Oren-Nordheim, Ruth Kark (2001). Jerusalem and Its Environs: Quarters, Neighborhoods, Villages, 1800-1948. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0814329098. 
  4. ^ Atarot and the Fate of the Jerusalem Airport
  5. ^ Atarot Airport handed over to the IDF
  6. ^ Atarot and the fate of the Jerusalem airport