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Jordan Objects to Israel's Opening of Airport near Red Sea

Jordan Objects to Israel's Opening of Airport near Red Sea

Tuesday, 22 January, 2019 - 08:30
A general view of the new Ramon International Airport in Timna Valley, north to Eilat, Israel June 13, 2018. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Israel inaugurated on Monday a new international airport in its desert south meant to boost tourism to the nearby Red Sea and serve as an emergency alternative to Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport.

Jordan, however, hit out at the move to open the airport along their shared border, saying it would threaten the Kingdom's airspace.

“Jordan rejects the establishment of the Israeli airport in its current location,” Head of Jordan's Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission Haitham Misto said.

He said Jordan had notified the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of "the Kingdom's strong objection.”

Amman, Misto added, had called on the ICAO to "take all necessary measures to ensure that Israel complies with international standards.”

He said the commission had been in touch with Israel's civil aviation authority and “informed it that the decision to operate the airport should not be taken unilaterally until all outstanding matters are resolved.”

Israel must abide by the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation signed by 192 countries, including Jordan and Israel, he stressed.

Initially Ramon Airport will handle only domestic flights, operated by Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir, AFP reported. A date has not yet been given for the start of international flights.

The new airport will replace Eilat’s current airport — used almost exclusively for domestic flights — and the basic airport at Ovda, 60 kilometers north of the city, which receives international traffic, mainly of holidaymakers from Europe.

The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) said that the plans for the Ramon project were revised in light of lessons learned during the 2014 Gaza war.

"In an emergency, not only will Israel's entire passenger air fleet be able to land and park there but also additional aircraft," the IAA added.

After a rocket fired from Gaza hit near the perimeter of Ben Gurion airport in 2014, international carriers suspended flights.

Israeli media said that a 26-meter high, 4.5-kilometer long "smart" anti-missile fence has been installed to help protect Ramon, which is adjacent to the border with Jordan.

The IAA refused to comment on those reports.

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