Are you thinking of flying to Eilat for a vacation in the near future?
If so, you’ll no doubt be excited to hear that Israel welcomes its newest airport in April 2017 – the Eilat Ramon Airport.
Eilat’s newest airport is based a mere 18km north of Eilat, in the heart of Israel’s stunning Timna Valley. It is the first civilian airport to be built in Israel since the country’s founding in 1948.
Why does Eilat need a new airport?
The airport replaces the two current airports serving the town – one being Ovda Airport, which is based 60km north of Eilat, and the other being the J. Hozman Airport, based literally inside the town itself.
Anyone who has flown into these airports will know that they have both fallen into a state of disrepair and are inadequate for the needs of the modern air travelers. Due to this, the Israeli Government decided back in 2010 to build a new airport and commissioned the renowned architects, Moshe Zur and Mann Shinar, to design the project.
Seven years on and the airport is close to completion. The result is quite simply stunning, as you can see from the video below.
It is estimated that around two million visitors will pass through the new Eilat Ramon Airport in its first year of operation. When these visitors pass through the Eilat Ramon Airport, they will have a ringside seat on the beautiful, rugged red terrain of the surrounding Timna Valley. But that’s not all…
What facilities will be available at the Ramon Eilat airport?
The new airport will feature 13,320 square meters of commercial space. That’s a lot of potential shopping opportunities! You’ll be pleased to hear that shopping at the new airport will be duty free, even for those traveling on domestic flights to Eilat from destinations around Israel.
There will be 32 check-in desks available for operation at the new airport, meaning hopefully that queue times will be reduced significantly. The new airport will also feature airport lounges, restaurants, a VAT refund point, prayer rooms and all the other state-of-the-art facilities you might expect from a modern, international airport.
Which airlines will fly to Eilat’s new airport?
It’s safe to say that Israel’s domestic airlines, Israir and Arkia, will continue to offer daily flights to Eilat from Ben Gurion Airport and Haifa Airport.
It also seems likely that Monarch Airlines will continue to offer its London-Luton – Eilat route from the new airport. Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost air operator, offered low-cost flights between Eilat and four European cities (Krakow, Bratislava, Kaunas and Budapest) during winter 2016 and can be expected to transfer these flights to the new Eilat Ramon Airport for the coming winter season.
But the sky’s the limit. The new airport’s 3,600-meter long runway will be big enough to handle Boeing 747 jets and other wide-body aircraft serving long distance routes. Could 2017 be the first year in which there is a direct flight from the US to Eilat?
You can also be sure that EasyJet, which was the third most used airline for flights in and out of Israel as of 2016, will be looking to offer low-cost flights from the new airport to various destinations across Europe.
How can you get to Eilat from the Ramot Eilat airport?
While plans for the new airport sound impressive, I can hear you thinking: how will I get to Eilat (which is 18km south of the airport)?
Free shuttle buses are expected to leave the airport every 15 minutes. If you would prefer not to wait for a shuttle bus, there will, of course, be a taxi rank at the airport. However, the major hotels in Eilat are likely to offer complimentary pick-up services, delivering visitors directly to their hotels.
Whichever method of travel you choose, the journey should take no more than 15 minutes given that the road into Eilat (Highway 90 (South)) has recently been widened into four lanes.
In 2012, the Israeli Government agreed to pursue plans to build a high-speed railway from Tel Aviv to Eilat. The Eilat Ramon Airport would be a stop on the railway line and it is expected that passengers could reach Eilat in less than two hours or less.
Since then, no concrete plans have been announced for the construction of the Tel Aviv – Eilat Railway. But if the plan goes ahead, the airport could compete with Ben Gurion Airport and offer cheap flights in and out of Israel. Estimates are that up to 4.5 million passengers a year could use the airport in years to come. Watch this space…
If you’re thinking of planning a visit to Eilat for 2017, then make sure you check out our piece on the top 10 things to see and do in Eilat.