Thinking of visiting sunny Eilat to escape the winter cold? You can now fly into the resort town’s new airport, which opened for business on Monday.
The new airport is big enough to handle Boeing 747 jets and other large passenger aircraft arriving from long distances. Keep your eyes open for direct flights from the US to the popular vacation spot along the coast of the Red Sea, known for its year-round sunny weather. For now, there are plenty of flights from major European cities. An estimated two million visitors will arrive at the new Ramon Airport during its first year of operation.
The airport is located just 11 miles (18km) north of Eilat in the spectacular Timna Valley, where you can visit King Solomon’s mines. How will you get to Eilat from the airport, you ask? Free shuttle buses leave the airport every 15 minutes for the city center. The major hotels in Eilat also offer complimentary pick-up services. Whichever way you chose to travel, it takes only about 10 minutes to the city center traveling south on Highway 90, which has recently been expanded into four lanes.
A new bus terminal and park-and-ride facility next to the airport are also near completion at a cost of NIS 400 million. The terminal will replace Eilat’s aging Central Bus Station. A proposal is being considered to build a high-speed rail line and a light rail line that will connect the rest of the country to the resort town.
The new airport is named after Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut who was killed in the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, and his son, Assaf Ramon, who was killed in a training accident at the Israel Air Force Flight Academy in 2009.
Worried about safety? In addition to the world-renowned Israeli air travel security, the new airport is surrounded by the world's tallest anti-missile fence at 85 ft (26 m) tall and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) long.