Government Approves Sde Dov Airport Closure to Make Way for Thousands of Homes

The government approves plan to shut down the airport in north Tel Aviv by the end of 2018, turning the last big parcel of land in the city available for construction.

Zohar Blumenkrantz
Nimrod Bousso

A plan to shut down Sde Dov Airport in north Tel Aviv by the end of 2018 - and turn the site over to housing construction - was approved by the government on Sunday. The site is the last big parcel of land inside the city available for development.

In the place of runways and hangars, some 12,000 housing units are slated to be built on the site, as well as hotels along the Mediterranean beachfront, shopping malls and a seafront park.

"This is the biggest reserve of land left in the Gush Dan area that can serve for the construction of thousands of housing units for the benefit of young couples," Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias said Sunday following the decision. "The Israel Lands Administration plans to fast-track the planning process and to include small apartments and affordable homes in it." He said Sde Dov would also include long-term and price-controlled rentals.

Under the cabinet decision, domestic flights on light planes that now come into and out of Sde Dov will be transferred to Ein Shemer, an airfield in the Sharon region built by the British and used until the 1990s for recreational aviation. Bigger aircraft operated by Arkia and Israir will now fly in and out of facilities at Ben-Gurion International Airport now used by the Air Force.

Sde Dov Airport.Credit: David Bachar