Eilat Airport completes NIS 5.5m. upgrade [pg. 15]

Eilat Airport has completed a NIS 5.5 million renovation of its terminal and runway, which will be used until the city's new airport is ready in a few years, the Israel Airports Authority said Sunday. "Because the new larger airport in Eilat is only forecast to come into existence in a number of years, we will continue to use [and improve] the established airport,"said Gabi Ofir, chief executive officer at the IAA. "Travelers to and from Eilat will now enjoy better conditions at the airport resulting from the increased volume of air traffic to the city and the expected growth in tourism there." The Central Bureau of Statistics reported a 61 percent rise in air passenger arrivals in Eilat between January and May this year to 71,700 - a figure that is expected to increase further as more airlines operate direct flights to the Red Sea resort from Europe. IAA spent NIS 3.5m. to increase the size of the arrivals hall, joining the departure halls of Israir and Arkia, which were previously separate; upgrading the luggage conveyer belt to the standard of those at Ben-Gurion Airport; and adding more service desks at the airport. An additional NIS 2m. was spent to establish a new area for aircraft waiting to take off and for those that have landed waiting to park. These new areas are expected to significantly increase efficiency at the airport during busy times, the IAA said. A spokesman for IAA said that while the project to build the new airport in Eilat was in discussion, no timeline for its implementation had yet been established.