Ramon Airport (Hebrew: נמל התעופה רמון Arabic: مطار رمون) (IATA: ETM, ICAO: LLER), named after Ilan and Assaf Ramon and unofficially also known as Eilat-Ramon Airport, is an international airport located in the Timna Valley in southern Israel. Ramon Airport is the second largest in Israel (after Ben Gurion Airport) and has replaced the former Eilat Airport and Ovda Airport for civilian traffic. It also serves as the primary diversion airport in Israel.
נמל התעופה רמון
|Operator||Israel Airports Authority|
|Location||Southern District, Israel|
|Opened||January 21, 2019|
The airport is located 18 km (11 mi) north of Eilat, next to Be'er Ora. Unlike the previous airport in Eilat, it has ample ramp space and a longer 3,600 m (11,800 ft) runway, which allows large aircraft to land and park. The airport was originally due to open in April 2017, but was pushed back and opened on January 21, 2019.
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 would 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 carried out, 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.
The airport is named in memory of the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and his son Assaf Ramon who died six years later when his F-16 fighter jet crashed in a training accident.
Planning and constructionEdit
Construction was authorized on July 24, 2011, before advanced planning had been completed. The project will cost ₪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 ₪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. Danya Cebus will build the passenger terminal. The terminal is set to feature a duty-free shop, a feature which was not present in Eilat Airport. Mer Group will provide command and control for the airport, including CCTV and perimeter protection.
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 first test flight and landing in the airport took place on September 5, 2017. In January 2019, Jordan objected to Israel's opening of the airport, arguing that operation of the airport threatens the kingdom's airspace.
The airport is located 18 km (11 mi) north of Eilat. Aside from Highway 90, it may also someday be reachable from the center of the country and Eilat via a proposed high-speed rail line and a light rail line that will connect it to the city. A bus terminal and a park and ride facility was built next to the airport at a cost ₪400 million. The bus terminal will replace the Eilat Central Bus Station. When the airport opened in 2019, the new bus station was not completed, and shuttle services are available for passengers to connect from the airport to the city of Eilat. All in all, the airport will be able to handle 2 million passengers a year.
The airport features a 3,600 m (11,800 ft) runway and has eight parking spots for large airplanes and nine for turboprop airplanes. The land area of the airport covers 5,500 dunams (5.5 km2), and the main terminal building is 45,000 m2 (480,000 sq ft). Despite Ramon Airport being suitable for all plane sizes, the Ovda civilian terminal may remain open and may still serve as a backup to Ben Gurion Airport after Ramon Airport opens.
It has the world's tallest anti-missile fence 26 m (85 ft) tall and 4.5 km (2.8 mi) long.
Airlines and destinationsEdit
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Ramon Airport:
|ASL Airlines France||Seasonal charter: Paris–Charles de Gaulle|
|Israir Airlines||Haifa, Tel Aviv|
|Pobeda||Seasonal: Moscow–Vnukovo (begins 22 October 2019)|
|Rossiya Airlines||Seasonal charter: Moscow–Vnukovo (begins 27 October 2019)|
|Ryanair||Seasonal: Bergamo (begins 27 October 2019), Berlin-Schönefeld (begins 28 October 2019), Bratislava (begins 27 October 2019), Budapest, Kaunas (begins 27 October 2019), Kraków (begins 29 October 2019), Prague (begins 28 October 2019), Warsaw–Modlin (begins 27 October 2019)|
|Transavia||Seasonal: Amsterdam (begins 2 November 2019)|
|Transavia France||Seasonal: Paris–Orly|
|Ural Airlines||Seasonal: Moscow–Domodedovo, Saint Petersburg|
|Wizz Air||Seasonal: Bucharest (begins 29 October 2019), Budapest, Riga (begins 28 October 2019), Sofia (begins 29 October 2019), Vienna (begins 29 October 2019), Vilnius (begins 27 October 2019), Warsaw–Chopin|
- "Eilat/Ilan & Assaf Ramon International Airport – Declaration and General Information". Israel Airports Authority. February 9, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2016.
- Yeshayahu, Kobi (August 26, 2016). "Mer Group will Build Command and Control Center in Timna Airport". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved August 27, 2016.
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- Blumental, Itay (December 12, 2018). "השער האווירי הבא: נמל התעופה "רמון" ייחנך בחודש הקרוב" [The Next Aerial Gate: Ramon Airport to Be Inaugurated in the Coming Month]. Ynet. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
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- "Eilat to Maintain Internal Flight Service". Israel Business Today. March 15, 2007. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
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- "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
- Boudreaux, Richard (September 14, 2009). "Israel pilot Assaf Ramon, astronaut's son, dies in F-16 crash". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- "Alternative Airport in Eilat Area" (in Hebrew). Israel National News. March 5, 2003. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
- Gil, Yasmin (July 24, 2011). הממשלה אישרה: נמל תעופה בינלאומי יוקם בתמנע [The Government Approved: International Airport to be Built in Timna]. Calcalist (in Hebrew). Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Bar-Eli, Avi; Blumenkranz, Zohar (February 26, 2013). "Israel Airports Authority Will Lose ₪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.
- "Danya Cebus Wins Ramon Airport Tender". Globes (in Hebrew). March 8, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
- "Construction on Israel's New International Airport Takes Off - Features - Haaretz". www.haaretz.com. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- הדר, רעות. לראשונה: מטוס נוסעים בשדה תעופה רמון (in Hebrew). Arutz 7. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- "Jordan hits out at Israel's new Red Sea airport". AFP. January 21, 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-01.
- 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.
- How to get from Ramon Airport to Eilat, How to get from Ramon Airport to Eilat, retrieved 14/08/2016
- Shemer, Hila. שער הכניסה הדרומי של ישראל: נמל התעופה רמון-אילת ממריא [Israel's Southern Gateway: Eilat–Ramon Airport Takes Off]. XNet (in Hebrew). Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- Zeitoun, Yoav (May 7, 2010). "Budget for Planning the Timna Airport. This is How it Will Look". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved April 9, 2012.
- Ahronheim, Anna (May 17, 2018). "State of the art smart fence to protect future airport, Jordanian border". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
- "Online Flight Timetable". iaa.gov.il.
- Raz-Chaimovich, Michal (20 January 2019). "Can Ramon Airport breathe new life into Eilat?". Globes.
- "Leisure flights - Charter flights". aslairlines.fr.
- "Ramon International Airport – Eilat opening provides new southern gateway to Israel". airport-business.com. 14 March 2019.
- Liu, Jim (22 July 2019). "Pobeda plans Dubai / Eilat launch in Oct 2019". Routesonline. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
- "Flight schedule". bgoperator.ru.
- "Timetable". ryanair.com.
- "Flight schedule". uralairlines.com.
- "Wizz Air launches flight to new Eilat Airport". bbj.hu. 25 May 2019.
- "Wizzair will fly from Riga and Vilnius to Eilat".
Media related to Ramon Airport at Wikimedia Commons