Ben-Gurion International Airport Moti Milrod
Ben-Gurion International Airport. Photo by Moti Milrod
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There will be no late-night takeoffs from Ben-Gurion International Airport for the next three years, the High Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

The state has 30 days to respond to the ruling.

To cope with runway closures resulting from renovations work the airport began allowing around-the-clock takeoffs several months ago. Residents of towns under the flight paths, unhappy about the nighttime noise, petitioned the High Court. In November Justice Miriam Naor ruled in their favor, issuing an interim injunction against the late-night takeoffs.

The newest ruling keeps Naor's interim injunction in effect until the renovations are done, in three years.

The ruling prohibits all takeoffs between 2 A.M. and 5 A.M. Furthermore, takeoffs will only be permitted from 1:40 A.M.-2 A.M. and from 5 A.M.-5:50 A.M. under special circumstances.

"Night cannot be turned into day," Naor stated in her original ruling, which referenced a 2003 High Court decision limiting takeoffs between 1:40 A.M. and 5:50 A.M.

In Thursday's session the court heard a petition from the city of Holon requesting a ban on early Friday morning takeoffs by El Al. The national carrier had argued that the transportation minister had given it a "special waiver" in 1998 allowing it to have takeoffs throughout the night between Thursday and Friday. El Al did not, however, submit this permit to the court. There will be another hearing on the matter at the end of 2011, before the summer takeoff schedule is completed, the court ruled.