Timna Airport, also Ilan and Assaf Ramon Airport, is an international airport currently under construction in southern Israel. It will replace Eilat Airport and also serve as a diversion airport to Ben Gurion Airport. The airport is being built 18 km (11 mi) north of Eilat, next to the Timna Valley and Be'er Ora. It will have a 3,600 m (11,800 ft) runway, longer than the runway in Eilat, which will allow large airplanes to land. It is slated to open in 2016.
Eilat Airport was established in 1949, when most of what would later be Eilat was empty. As the city developed, much of it was built around the airport. In the 1994 Peace Agreement between Israel and Jordan it was decided that operations were supposed to be transferred from Eilat Airport to Aqaba Airport. The original plan was to rename Aqaba Airport as Aqaba–Eilat Peace International Airport. The agreement was never followed, and an agreement between the two countries in March 1997, stipulated that domestic flights would continue to use Eilat Airport, whilst no further action to move international flights took place.
Removing the Eilat Airport from the city center was considered necessary for further development of Eilat, as it would allow, among other things, the construction of additional hotels close to the shoreline. It would also reduce noise pollution. The project is part of a larger plan to develop the city, which includes mega-projects such as moving the Port of Eilat to a location near the Jordanian border (for which removing the original airport is necessary), the Railway to Eilat, and upgrading the Arava Road.
In July 2010, Israel's Ministry of Transportation and Road Safety declared that the new airport will be named after Israel's first astronaut Ilan Ramon who died on the Columbia disaster, and his son, pilot Assaf Ramon, who died in a training accident.
In July 2011, the Israeli government approved the construction of an international airport at Timna. In May 2013, the cornerstone was laid in a ceremony attended by government officials and members of the Ramon family. Construction began two weeks later.
The South District Planning and Construction Committee gave its approval for the project in 2003, and advanced planning was approved by the Israeli government in July 2010. Construction was authorized on July 24, 2011, before advanced planning had been completed. The project will cost NIS 1.95 billion and will be funded partly by real estate revenue from selling the Eilat Airport's land. The planning budget, approved on May 6, 2010, is NIS 56 million. There was a plan to make the airport a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project, but the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) objected, and the government authorized it to plan and oversee the project. Despite this, it is estimated that if the IAA takes on the funding completely on its own, it will go bankrupt and default on its debts.
The airport will be located 18 km (11 mi) north of Eilat. Aside from Highway 90, it will be reachable from the center of the country and Eilat via the Railway to Eilat, and a light rail line that will connect it to the city. A bus terminal and a park and ride facility will be built next to the airport at a cost NIS 400 million. The bus terminal will replace the Eilat Central Bus Station.
The airport will feature a 3,600 m (11,800 ft) runway and will have eight parking spots for large airplanes and nine for turboprop airplanes. An early estimate put the land area of the airport at 5,500 dunams (5.5 km2), and the terminal at 50,000 m2 (540,000 sq ft). Despite being suitable for all plane sizes, the downtown Eilat Airport may remain open as a civilian airport, and may still serve as a backup to Ben Gurion International Airport after Timna Airport opens.
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- "Eilat to Maintain Internal Flight Service". Israel Business Today. March 15, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Gil, Yasmin (July 18, 2011). "Is This What Will Save the City's Decline? The Prime Minister Assembled Ministerial Committee for Eilat Development" (in Hebrew). Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- "Timna Airport to be Named After Ilan and Assaf Ramon". Ynet (in Hebrew). July 18, 2010. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Timna Airport, Israel deot. Transport, retrieved 28/04/2012
- "Alternative Airport in Eilat Area" (in Hebrew). Israel National News. March 5, 2003. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Gil, Yasmin (July 24, 2011). "The Government Approved: International Airport to be Build in Timna". Calcalist (in Hebrew). Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Bar-Eli, Avi; Blumenkranz, Zohar (February 26, 2013). "Israel Airports Authority Will Lose NIS 9.4 Billion From Operating Timna Airport". TheMarker (in Hebrew). Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- Shihor-Aharonson, Anat (May 6, 2010). "Green Light for Building the New Airport in Timna". nrg Maariv (in Hebrew). Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Bar-Eli, Avi; Blumenkranz, Zohar (September 5, 2010). "Light Rail Will Connect Timna Airport to Eilat and Taba Terminal". TheMarker (in Hebrew). Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Zeitoun, Yoav (May 7, 2010). "Budget for Planning the Timna Airport. This is How it Will Look". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Official website
- Renders at the Ministry of Transportation and Road Safety website
- Plans at the Israel Land Administration website (Hebrew)
- Show Ramon Airport construction side in Openstreetmap