Fewer Israelis are flying to Eilat – but their place is being taken by European tourists, as direct flights from Europe to the new Ramon Airport jumped 77% in October compared to the same month in 2018.
Internal flights from the Tel Aviv area to Eilat, meanwhile, fell by about a third during the month.
Overall, the first ten months of 2019 showed a reduction in the number of people flying to Eilat, with 1,007,042 people flying into and out of Eilat airports. That was 14% fewer than the 1,168,974 passengers to and from Eilat during the first ten months of 2018. The reason for that reduction is likely tied to the closure of Eilat Airport and Sde Dov Airport – with Israelis balking at flying from Ben Gurion and to the Ramon Airport, which is 40 kilometers outside of town.
Ramon Airport opened in April, but over the past few months it has gained traction. Officials expect expect some 350,000 foreign tourists to pass through the airport during the winter months. Meanwhile, hotels in Eilat remained full, with both foreign tourists and Israelis – who prefer to drive – filling hotel rooms.