Israel's Sde Dov Airport to Close Next April to Make Room for Pricey Real Estate

Tel Aviv-Eilat flights will leave from nearby military air base.

David Bachar

Sde Dov airport is due to be shut in April 2017, while flights from Tel Aviv to Eilat will depart from the nearby military air base, under an agreement on the future of the airport due to be signed by several government ministries within the coming days.

The agreement is in keeping with a High Court of Justice ruling on a petition filed by landowners in the area.

The Finance Ministry, Defense Ministry and the Transportation Ministry came to an initial agreement on Tuesday. These ministries will need to make the necessary preparations within the next few days to make implementation of the plan possible

The military airport is due to stay open through 2019.

Plans have been in the works to shutter Sde Dov for years and to build tens of thousands of housing units in the area. However, this raised concerns from the tourism sector, as a solution had yet to be found for flights from Tel Aviv to Eilat, which regularly depart from the northern Tel Aviv airport. Diverting these flights to Israel’s main airport, Ben-Gurion International Airport, had proved complicated.

Ministers debated the future of the airport on Sunday after more than 80 Knesset members signed a bill that would have called for the civilian airport to continue operating through 2019, alongside the military airport.

However, the vote on the bill was delayed, and in the meantime Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon came to the above agreement with coalition leaders.

A representative of the landowners stated that they had not been informed of the new plan, and added that any changes need the court’s approval.