Eilat Ramon Airport is the first civilian airport to be built since the country was founded in 1948 and will eventually serve the Red Sea resort of Eilat and Israel’s southern region when it opens to the general public in early 2018. A test flight was carried out on an Embracer E-190 jet operated by Arkia as part of the Airport Emergency Plan being implemented in order to allow the airport to receive a permanent operating license.
The successful test flight may come as a sign of relief for Israel’s aviation bosses after delays have led to the airport’s opening being postponed from April 2017 to early next year. The airport has been under construction for the past four years and cost close to half a billion US dollars.
The new airport will be built 19km to the north of Eilat in the Timna Valley and is to be officially known as the “Eilat Ilan and Assaf Ramon International Airport”. The architects behind the design of the Eilat Ramon Airport, Moshe Zur and Mann Shina, created a design for the terminal building that incorporates large viewing spaces onto the outside desert scenery.
During 2016, a total of 1,522,563 travellers arrived at the existing Eilat J. Hozman Airport on both domestic and international flights and a smaller number of 128,595 travellers arrived at Ovda Airport.
The tourist industry in expects that around 2.25 million passengers will pass through the gates of the airport in its first phase, with closer to 4 million passengers eventually arriving at Eilat Ramon Airport in years to come.
Airlines currently serving the existing Eilat airports include Arkia, Israir Airlines, Wizz Air and Ryanair. These airlines are expected to transfer their flights to the new airport when it opens in 2018.
When passengers arrive at the new airport, they will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities, including a retail space of 3,320-sq m featuring a James Richardson Duty Free store and other high street brand offerings.