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Eilat Airport

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This article is about the city airport in Eilat. For the new international airport serving Eilat which is under construction, see Ramon Airport.
Eilat Airport
J. Hozman Airport
שְׂדֵה הַתְּעוּפָה אֵילַת
Eilat Airport.jpg

IATA: ETHICAO: LLET

ETH is located in Israel
ETH
ETH
Location of airport in Israel
Summary
Airport type Public
Operator Israel Airports Authority
Serves Eilat, Israel
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 42 ft / 13 m
Coordinates 29°33′30″N 34°57′32″E / 29.55833°N 34.95889°E / 29.55833; 34.95889
Website iaa.gov.il
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03/21 6,234 1,900 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 1,424,098
Aircraft movements 18,966
Source: Israel Airports Authority[1]

Eilat Airport (Hebrew: שְׂדֵה הַתְּעוּפָה אֵילַת, Namal HaTe'ufa Eilat; Arabic: مطار إيلات‎‎), also known as J. Hozman Airport (IATA: ETHICAO: LLET), is an Israeli airport located in the city of Eilat, and named for Arkia Airlines founder Yakov Hozman (Jacob Housman). Eilat Airport is located in the central area of the city, next to Route 90 (The Arava Road). It mostly handles domestic flights to Tel Aviv and Haifa with international flights operating instead to Ovda International Airport, but a few international flights on aircraft that can handle the relatively short runway use Eilat as well.

The airport is expected to cease civilian operations by 2017 when Eilat's new international airport, Ramon Airport, should become operational.[2]

History[edit]

C-46 Commando 4X-ACT Eilata operated by El Al in Eilat Airport (~1952)

Eilat Airport was established in 1949 by the Israel Air Force, following the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. During its early years, the airport aimed to establish a comprehensive set of connections to towns across the country, most notably with Tel Aviv and Haifa. Consequently, a regular route from Eilat to Lod Airport (now Ben Gurion International Airport) was started. Soon after, a route to Haifa Airport became operational. In December 1950, following their establishment, Arkia Israel Airlines became the largest domestic operator at Eilat Airport, taking the position of the former companies Eilata and Aviron. To this day, they retain this position. Later, in 1964 the runway was expanded to 1500 m, and a passenger terminal was built. Five years later, the runway was further expanded increasing the length to 1900 m. In 1975, Eilat Airport started to attract Scandinavian airlines. The first international flight arrival to Eilat, of the Danish airline, Sterling Airlines landed in this year. Since then, many international routes have been established directly linking Eilat with Europe, however, the airport is still unable to handle landings of large aircraft which have to fly to Ovda International Airport.[3]

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.[4] The agreement was never followed, however, 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.[5]

In August 2005, a Katyusha rocket fired from Jordan landed near a taxi traveling just 15 yards (14 m) from the airport perimeter fence.[6] On August 8, 2013, the Israeli Military instructed the airport to cancel all landings and departures after a security assessment. Militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula had fired rockets towards the city in recent years, but it was not immediately clear if that was the reason for the closure.[7]

The airport today[edit]

Today, Eilat Airport sustains peak loads concentrated into Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. On Thursdays and Sundays, flights are handled in a period of a few hours in the mornings and on Saturdays only the evening hours are used. Often there are days when 10,000 passengers on 120 flights are channelled through the 2,800 m2 terminal, counting as one of the highest peak loads worldwide in this category.[8]

International passenger traffic decreased from magnitude of 20,000 in a year in late 2000s to 5,000 in a year in 2010s.[9]

Although the airport is capable of handling Boeing 767 aircraft, for large numbers of these aircraft, significant investment would be needed. Consequently, the largest aircraft regularly flying to the airport are Boeing 757.[8] The main problem at the airport is the lack of ramp space, with just two parking positions for large aircraft.[8] As a result, El Al operates regular shuttle flights to Ben Gurion International Airport carrying passengers from around the world on 757s and 737s.[8]

The small size of the airport is perhaps best illustrated with the fact that a Boeing 757 cannot taxi past another aircraft to parking positions.[8] As a result, controllers are responsible not only for ensuring that valuable space is utilised, but also ensuring that other aircraft are kept circling until larger aircraft are parked.[8] Despite these limitations, the airport successfully handles ten to twenty times more traffic than airports of a comparable size.[8] It is for this reason that plans to relocate the airport are so important in the short-term scale. In 2006, a NIS 5.5 million renovation programme of Eilat Airport's terminal and runway was undertaken, designed to sustain the airport until it is replaced in the near future.[10]

The future[edit]

Since the beginning of the 1990s the authorities in Eilat have considered relocating the airport, approximately 20 km north of Eilat, to the Ora Well area near Be'er Ora.[11] There were numerous reasons behind this idea. Primarily, the fact that safety would be improved as in its current location, there is the chance of aircraft crashing into buildings in the city.[8] Other reasons were the pure value of the land which the airport occupies, and the fact that the airport is dividing the city of Eilat into two parts with the hotels and tourist areas on one side, and the residential buildings on the other.[8]

On 24 July 2011 the Israeli cabinet approved the construction of a new airport to be built in Timna, 18 km (11 mi) north of Eilat, next to Be'er Ora. It will have a 3,600 m (11,800 ft) runway, longer than the runway in Eilat, which will allow large aircraft to land. The airport is due to open in 2017[12][13] and will be named after the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon and his son Assaf Ramon, who died six years later when his F-16 fighter jet crashed over the West Bank.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Eilat Airport chart
Airlines Destinations
Arkia Haifa, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv–Sde Dov
Israir Airlines Haifa, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Tel Aviv–Sde Dov

Statistics[edit]

Total passengers and aircraft movements at Eilat Airport[1]
Year Total passengers Total aircraft movements
2009 1,056,752 16,662
2010 1,293,254 18,298
2011 1,394,900 18,455
2012 1,448,423 18,248
2013 1,463,682 17,663
2014 1,424,098 18,966

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Facts and Figures". Israel Airports Authority. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Eilat's new International Airport On Its Way". IAA. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  3. ^ "History". IAA. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  4. ^ "Jordan, Israel agree to construction of Aqaba-Eilat airport". Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  5. ^ "Eilat to maintain internal flight service.". Israel Business Today. 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  6. ^ "Six Suspects Sought in Jordan Missile Attack". Fox News. 2005-08-20. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  7. ^ Israel closes Eilat airport over security concerns Miami Herald, Aug 8, 2013
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Israel's Holiday Airport Eilat". Flug Revue. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  9. ^ Eilat Airport Facts and Figures
  10. ^ Avi Krawitz (2006-07-03). "Eilat Airport completes NIS 5.5m. upgrade". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  11. ^ "Eilat Airport". ICEN. 1991-04-26. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  12. ^ Israel Airports Authority website: [1]
  13. ^ as of late 2014: [Algemeiner|http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/03/13/idf-outlines-defense-of-southern-airport-braces-for-islamic-state-linked-attack]

External links[edit]

Media related to Eilat Airport at Wikimedia Commons