Ramon Airport will be inaugurated on 21 January 2019, near Eilat, a town where Club Med had a village until 2012.
The first slots are reserved for domestic flights operated by Arkia and Israir. International connections will follow. The first foreign destinations and their opening dates are not yet specified.
Ryanair is expected to base several planes on site to feed its network of European routes, according to the website of the new airport. The Irish low-cost airline, which currently operates flights to Ovda in Israel, already devotes a full page to Eilat. Other European companies are expected, such as Transavia, Wizzair, Lufthansa, Air Europa.
The airport will initially be able to accommodate two million passengers a year, and up to 4.2 million people by 2030. Its construction cost is estimated at NIS 1.7 billion (396 million euros).
Ramon Airport is just 18 km north of the city of Eilat, to which it will eventually be connected with a rail link. At the start of operations, shuttles (with a travel time of 10 minutes) will be put in place to the resort.
The new airport is Israel’s window on the Red Sea, but also a gateway to several sites of interest: southern Jordan including the seaside resort of Aqaba and the regions of Wadi Rum and Petra, as well as the Taba region of the Sinai in Egypt.
Ramon (IATA code ETM) will replace two existing airports, those of Eilat (ETH) and Ovda (VDA), as explained on its website.