Giant Fence to Protect New Eilat Airport

YERUSHALAYIM -
The new Ramon International Airport, which will replace Eilat Airport, under construction. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The Defense Ministry has been working on a new fence between Israel and Jordan, with the intention of protecting airplanes that will be using the new Ramon airport outside Eilat. The fence, which will rise to a height of 90 feet, is “another example of creativity and competence by the defense establishment” to defend Israel, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a statement.

The project, which had been proceeding quietly until the Ministry issued a statement about it Monday, has been under construction for several months. It is projected to cost NIS 300 million ($85 million) by the time it is finished in the coming months.

Dozens of contractors are working on the fence. Among the most important tasks has been the removal of landmines, which were planted many years ago to discourage invasion of the Negev by Jordanian forces. The fence will extend more than 2.5 miles, and will feature electronics and detection technology to ensure that there are no breaches. It will be high enough to protect the airport and incoming and outgoing planes from short-range missiles that terror groups might fire, officials said.

The new airport is being built about a 30-minute drive north of Eilat, and will be able to handle 2 million travelers a year. Once finished, it will have cost NIS 1.7 billion all told. According to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, the airport, will create hundreds of new jobs directly and many more indirectly.

In addition, the new airport will free up prime real estate in the most desirable location of Eilat, as the old airport is shut down and construction of a major tourist center commences on its former location.

With international-level runways and a large passenger terminal, along with facilities for cargo, luggage, catering, etc., the Ramon airport will be in a position to take in flights from all international carriers that fly to and from Israel, said Minister Katz.

The airport is set to open in April 2018.