No, Ben Gurion Won't Get Exec Jet Terminal

Hundreds of thousands of shekels spent on planning alone, for nothing.

The NIS 700,000 sunk into planning a separate terminal for executive jets at Israel's main airport is pure waste, after the Airports Authority decided that it wouldn't be built. Instead, the jets can use Terminal 1, the institution has decided.

The Airports Authority had published a tender in January 2008, for the construction of a separate building to house a terminal for executive and private planes at Ben Gurion International Airport, which lies between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The cost was estimated at NIS 10 million. Seven companies bought the tender documents to contend over the contract.

A discrete terminal was necessary, said the authority at the time, because of the increasing use of private planes of various types. The number of private flights that took off and landed at Ben Gurion climbed 28% from 2006 to 2007, the authority said.

The planning alone cost NIS 700,000, but in August last year Airports Authority director general Kobi Mor decided to suspend the tender process. The Airports Authority needed to rethink the need for the terminal, he explained, given the resources it would require - which might be better invested in security-related projects.

A month ago the Airports Authority gave the order to restart the tender process, but in a completely different format. Instead of creating a separate building, the facility will be established in Terminal 1.

The Airports Authority stated that in the past it had looked at building a designated terminal for executive flights and private planes, alongside Terminal 1.

But following the initial planning stages and examination of operational and legal aspects, it realized that planting the facility in Terminal 1 would cut the project cost by 50%, the authority said.