Ovda Airport

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Ovda Airport
נְמַל הַתְּעוּפָה עֻבְדָּה
Ovda Terminal.jpg


VDA is located in Israel
Location of airport in Israel
Airport type Public/Military
Operator IAA
Serves Eilat, Israel
Elevation AMSL 1,492 ft / 445 m
Coordinates 29°56′25″N 34°56′9″E / 29.94028°N 34.93583°E / 29.94028; 34.93583
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2R/20L 9,843 3,000 Asphalt
2L/20R 8,530 2,600 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 136,791
Aircraft Movements 1,200
Source: Official Airport Website [2]

Ovda Airport (Hebrew: נְמַל הַתְּעוּפָה עֻבְדָּה, Nemal HaTe'ufa Uvda) (IATA: VDAICAO: LLOV) is a military and civilian airport in Israel, located in the south of the country, about 60 km (37 mi) north of the city of Eilat. It is the country's second international airport.

Ovda was originally built as a military airport in 1980 following Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula as part of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty because the Israeli Air Force needed alternative airfields to its Sinai bases. Nowadays, the airport also serves as the destination for many commercial flights to Eilat, especially for large planes which cannot use the shorter runway at Eilat Airport, although it is still used by the air force.[1]

The airport is expected to cease civilian flights once Eilat's new international airport in Timna opens.[2]


Early history[edit]

Ovda Airport started out as an airbase for the Israeli Air Force, constructed by the United States as a replacement for Etzion Air Force Base. It opened in 1981. The Israeli Airports Authority began operations from Ovda Air Force Base in 1982, after the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt.[3] Previously all charter flights from Europe had landed at Etzion, however this was one of three airports in the Sinai that were handed over to Egypt as part of the Camp David Accords.[3] A civilian terminal was built at the airport which handled direct charter flights from Europe.[3]

Recent history[edit]

In 1988 a decision was made that international flights bringing tourists to Eilat would land at Ovda, instead of at Eilat.[3] This allowed the operation of large, wide-body aircraft, such as the Boeing 747, which cannot operate from Eilat Airport.[3] Since then, most international flights land at Ovda instead of Eilat. The runway at Ovda also allows long range flights to take off for any European destination without the need to refuel.[3]

Today, the airport sees regular scheduled domestic services operated by Israir, Arkia Israel Airlines, and El Al Israel Airlines as well as regular charter services from across Europe. In 2005, the airport had 746 international aircraft movements and 82,479 international passenger movements.[4]

On January 1, 2009, the airport was closed to landing traffic during nighttime until further notice by the Ministry of Transport, due to the deteriorating condition of its runway. As such, there is currently no alternative landing strip in Israel during night time to the Ben Gurion International Airport for large aircraft, that will be forced to fly to Cyprus in case the Ben Gurion runways cannot accept the landing.[1]

On July 23, 2014 after the stoppage of international air traffic to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, due to rocket fire on Israeli cities from Gaza[5] Ovda Airport was opened to accept all International traffic.[6]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Aeroflot Seasonal: Moscow-Sheremetyevo
operated by Rossiya
Seasonal: Saint Petersburg
Air Méditerranée Seasonal: Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Corendon Dutch Airlines Seasonal: Amsterdam
Enter Air Seasonal: Warsaw-Chopin
El Al Seasonal: Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Monarch Airlines London-Luton (begins 3 December 2015)[7]
Orenair Seasonal: Moscow-Domodedovo
Primera Air Seasonal: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Kuopio, Paphos, Pori, Seinajoki[8]
Ryanair[9] Budapest (begins 7 November 2015),[10] Kaunas (begins 5 November 2015),[10] Kraków (begins 7 November 2015)[10]
Transaero Airlines Moscow-Domodedovo (ends 15 December 2015)[11]
Ukraine International Airlines Seasonal: Kiev-Boryspil
VIM Airlines Seasonal: Moscow-Domodedovo, Yekaterinburg

Ground transportation[edit]

Ovda Airport is served by a bus service operated by Egged. Bus 282 connects Ovda airport directly to Eilat and to the hotel district in the city.[12]

Egged also offers a 6-day bus pass in Eilat for 39 NIS [3].

Additionally, taxis can be found waiting outside the terminal.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Ovda Airport at Wikimedia Commons