The new Ramon International Airport, also known as Eilat Ilan and Assaf Ramon Airport, is a greenfield airport constructed on a 1,976-acre site in Timna Valley, 19km north of Eilat city, Israel.
It replaced two existing airports serving the city, Eilat Airport and Ovda Airport, as a new international gateway to the Southern Israel. The airport is built and operated by the Israel Airport Authority (IAA).
The airport has an initial capacity to handle two million passengers a year, which will be expanded to 4.2 million passengers a year by 2030.
Construction started in 2013 and was completed in January 2019 at a cost of $445.85m. The airport handles all the domestic flights that were earlier handled by the Eilat Airport, and low-cost and charter flights handled by Ovda Airport.
Passenger terminal at new Ramon airport
The greenfield airport features a single passenger terminal, which occupies 30,000m². Designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding area of Negev desert, the airport’s architecture has been inspired by the shape of the desert boulders.
The terminal features a common area for both arriving and departing passengers decorated with sceneries of the desert and red mountains. It has 32 check-in counters and eight gates for transport buses and other facilities, including a tourist information centre, foreign exchange centre and transportation service centres.
Concessions including duty-free shops, restaurants, luggage storage, lost and found centres and prayer rooms occupy approximately 13,320m².
New Ramon international airport runway
The airport runway designated 01/19, is 3,600m-long and 45m-wide and will be extended by an additional 7.5m on both sides of its shoulder. It accommodates all types of aircraft, including large jumbo jets.
Aircraft aprons and other infrastructure
A new apron with a total of 29 parking places to accommodate aircraft of all sizes has been developed. From these, nine are available for large wide-body aircraft such as B747 jets and 16 for general aviation.
Other infrastructure planned for the airport includes taxiways, an advanced energy centre, a fire station, cargo and freight operation facilities, helipad, a luggage sorting system, and support areas that meet international standards.
The car parking facility for private and public vehicles and a four-lane road connecting the airport with the city centre has also been built.
State-of-the-art technologies at the New Ramon airport
The airport features one of the most advanced baggage screening systems called hold baggage screening (HBS), which is an automatic security check system for inspecting passenger luggage.
Advanced surface movement guidance and control systems (A-SMGCS) are used to monitor and control the ground traffic operations, while the entire airport management is supported by operational readiness, activation and transition (ORAT) micromanagement platform.
For flight plan information, surveillance data is integrated with sensis safety logic conflict detection, alerting algorithms and electronic flight strip system (EFS).
Air traffic control tower (ATCT) and ground transportation
A new air traffic control tower (ATCT) was constructed at the airport with a height of 45m. A new shuttle service with a frequency of 15 minutes links the airport with the city centre for transporting passengers to and from the city.
A fleet of modern air-conditioned vehicles with multilingual drivers and assistants is used for the shuttle service.
Israeli construction company Danya Cebus was appointed as the construction contractor for the passenger terminal, while the terminal design was provided by Amir Mann / Ami Shinar Architects & Planners.
The project management and supervision contract for the project was awarded to Gadish Group Engineering & Management company.
A $3.93m contract for planning, supplying, installing and maintaining the technological systems was awarded to the Mer Group, a security and communications solutions provider. Mer’s 12-year contract includes provision of security system along the 14km perimeter and installation of CCTV system comprising 400 cameras for the security of airfields, passenger areas, support and maintenance areas and other airport access areas.
Mer incorporated its secure-M NG command and control system into the airport’s command and control centre. The system interfaces with the internal operational and security systems in the airport and controls all other components to provide a comprehensive command and control solution.
The Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) constructed two protective ramparts that help prevent flooding and erosion of the runway.