The Israel Airports Authority Council unanimously approved last week the financing for the Timna international airport, outside Eilat.
The planned airport at Timna - 12 miles north of Eilat, to be formally called the Ilan and Assaf Ramon Airport - will replace the older and out-of-date facility located inside the southern resort's city limits.
The Timna Airport, will have a 3,500-meter runway, state-of-the-art control tower, and spacious terminal, able to handle mid-sized and wide-bodied airliners. It will cost an estimated NIS 1.6 billion to NIS 2 billion to build.
Ilan Ramon was the Israeli astronaut killed in the crash of the Columbia space shuttle in 2003; his son, Asaf, was killed in an Israel Air Force training accident in 2009.
The Airports Authority said that moving the Eilat Airport to Timna was a national necessity given Eilat Airport's location in the city center and limited capacity.
The Timna Airport will provide an alternative to Ben Gurion Airport. The new airport, is part of a comprehensive plan ‘to promote the economic progress of the city by freeing up land for tourism, commerce and housing.
The Government expects construction of the airport to take three years. An estimated 1.5 million passengers are forecast to use the airport each year, approximately 90 percent of the passengers on domestic flights. It will free up considerable land in Eilat, provide a solution for the expansion of Eilat and prevent noise and other pollution in the city.