ISRAEL (OBSERVATORY) – Israel plans to use an air force base for civilian purposes to accommodate growing tourism and serve as a reserve airport in times of war.
A second international airport is due to open this year near the southern Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat.
The new Ilan and Assaf Ramon airport will be far from the range of rockets fired by militants, but the volume of activity will represent about 14 percent of Ben Gurion airport activity.
Transport Minister Israel Katz said that “Ben-Gurion airport is already dealing with a traffic movement that exceeds its specified capacity, which forces the airport authorities to erect temporary pavilions to provide services to travelers.”
“There is no doubt that in addition to Ramon Airport, we must create a complementary wing. This requires the reallocation of two air bases, Nevatim in the south or Ramat David in the north, for dual civilian purposes.”
The Israeli minister, a member of the Security Council, said the airlift was necessary to deal with what was expected of “specific security emergencies in addition to the impact of the weather.”
Kats preferred the Nevatim base because, according to Katz, it had a dual-use infrastructure, adding that the Ramat David base had advantages because the Air Force had already reduced its operations there.
Kats did not specify a date for the decision or the completion of the conversion of one of the two bases, and said that it is still in the process of planning and discussion with the Ministry of Defense.
On the other hand, the President of the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority, Joel Fieldsho, that the modified air base will be allocated for low-cost political flights.
“We will have three airports in Israel.”