Jordan increases pressure over Israeli airport plans

Jordan is mounting pressure onto Israel to reign in its plans for the new Ramon Airport at Timna just north of Eilat.

The new planned airport lies just 10km from Jordan’s King Hussein International Airport at Aqaba and will replace the existing Eilat airport to enable growth of the city.

The Jordanian government has followed a formal complaint to ICAO earlier this year with an appeal to the United Nations claiming that the new airport – now reportedly set to become the alternative airport to Ben Gurion – will affect operations at Aqaba and would be a safety threat to its operations.

Jordan's Transport Minister Lina Shbeeb (left) confirmed that she had filed the complaint with the United Nations earlier this month

Israeli officials are shrugging off the complaints as being merely the result of “domestic political pressure” and said the arrangements had been agreed.

However, Jordan has been actively objecting to the project since it was first mooted four years ago.

Back in April, Jordan’s Transport Ministry spokesman Ali Odaibat said ICAO was aware about Jordan’s concerns over the Israeli project and to “stress Jordan’s keenness to protect its airspace.” Jordan’s Foreign Ministry had also previously argued that the airport is in violation of international laws, especially Article 1 of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation.

However the construction has continued despite the objections. The foundation stone was laid almost two years ago and the 50m high control tower is rising form the ground now.

In October 2013 Jordan officially notified Israel of its rejection of the airport and in January 2014 Shabib had complained that the plans would have a “big impact” on safety and that the new airport did not meet international standards.”

In May Israel Airports Authority announced that the Africa-Israel Investments Ltd subsidiary of Danya Cebus will build the 30,000sqm passenger terminal to handle two million passengers per annum.

News reports in Israel say that runways have begun to be laid, and construction is also under way of aircraft holding aprons, car parks, and a four lane highway to Eilat.