Haifa Airport to Be Upgraded to Int'l Status, Says Minister

Haifa airport is to be upgraded to short-haul international status, and the city's light train will be made a national-priority project, Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh yesterday said at the opening of Haifa's Hiram overpass A 300-meter extension - on Israel Aiports Authority property - has been approved to extend Haifa's 1,200 meter runway. The plan has provision for another extension to make the runway suitable for traffic to and from European destinations. However, this will have to be built on a landfill jutting into the sea, a more lengthy procedure. The extra 300 meters will allow the airport to support flights to nearby destinations like Turkey and Greece.

Mayor Amram Mitzna yesterday said the main hurdle is statutory and the city has already cleared all the obstacles under its jurisdiction. The plans will be submitted to the Regional Planning and Building Committee after Passover, he said, and all necessary permits can in principle be obtained within a year.