The Cabinet has approved plans for a new international airport at Timna to replace the current facility in Eilat. Timna, where the airport is to be located, is about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) north of Eilat.
The decision comes on the heels of a meeting between government officials and Eilat Mayor Yitzchak HaLevy. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was present at the meeting, instructed a ministerial team to develop a plan for the future development of the Red Sea resort city.
At present, the airport is located in the port city's center. Construction of the new facility, to be named the Ramon Airport, is expected to take approximately three years at a cost of some NIS 1.6 billion.
“This airport, which the government recommends be named after Ilan and Assaf Ramon, will be an alternative to Ben-Gurion International Airport and the [Ovdat] airport in Eilat,” Netanyahu said at the Sunday cabinet meeting. “It will free up considerable land in Eilat, provide a solution for the expansion of Eilat and prevent noise and other pollution in the city.
“It is part of the steps we are taking to change Eilat and the Negev, including laying a railway to Eilat and widening the Arava road,” he continued. “We are also checking on the possibility of moving the Eilat port.”
According to the plan, along with moving the port, the city's southern coastal strip will also be evacuated in order to build additional hotels .