Vfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 3592 posts, RR: 5 Posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3344 times:
I was wondering if Jerusalem Airport ever saw commercial service before or after Israel took it over in 1967 ? I understand it has now been closed for five years or so as it lies in East Jerusalem with the border to the west bank running exactly through the area, but I seem to remember that Arkia and the like operated domestic flights from there before it was closed. Does it have reasonable terminal infrastructure etc. etc. ?
Anyone here who can shed some light into the history of airport ?
(Surprise surprise, once one starts googleing for "Jerusalem Airport", all that comes up is political stuff from either side of the conflict).
Focus From Israel, joined Feb 2001, 69 posts, RR: 1 Reply 2, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3309 times:
As far as I remember, the airport (known as "Atarot Airport"), has minimal facilities - certainly not for Int'l travel.
I'm not sure about Arkia or other airline operating regular service to and from Atarot, but I doubt its efficiency. Bear in mind that TLV is located right off route #1, and so it is only 30 minutes away from Jerusalem, give or take. Thus, there's certainly no economic reason to operate Atarot. Considering the Jerusalem traffic, TLV may be easier to reach from many of its neighborhoods.
As mentioned, Atarot is closed for nearly 5 years now, being located in a not-very-stable area, security wise. When it opens, I assume low density operations will resume, mostly with private a/c.
NYCFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1381 posts, RR: 10 Reply 5, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3182 times:
Quoting FoxBravo (Reply 1): Before that, as I recall, Arkia used to fly Dash 7s to/from Tel Aviv (Sde Dov), and maybe also Eilat. I'm sure others here know more details...
Why would anyone fly from Jerusalem to Sde Dov, or vice versa? That's less than an hour's drive. And there are obviously no int'l connection opportunities here. Please enlighten me!
For that matter, Israel is so small, I don't know how a domestic route network can exist, except for the odd TLV traveler who wants to do a quick weekend in Eilat and doesn't have time for the 3 hour drive.
Dutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 58 Reply 7, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3122 times:
FlyPrivate's account above is very accurate.
I flew from Jerusalem to Eilat in 1988 (I think) with an Arkia DHC-7; at the time there were several flights per day out of the airport, mainly to Eilat, but to other Israeli domestic destinations as well.
The airport had a small terminal (rather rundown) with limited facilities - a special airport bus took us to the airport which, as pointed out, is in East Jerusalem. Some people that I spoke with were quite surprised when I mentioned that I and some friends were flying out of Jerusalem - even then there were security risks - I honestly had not thought of that when I booked the flight and, to be honest, did not even realize that the airport was in East Jerusalem.
The security at the airport was intense, although we were flying a domestic flight, each member of our group got the full intense Israeli security treatment (one friend had a new US passport - he had just renewed it before the trip to Israel - and was almost not let on the airplane, the agents seemed convinced that something was up because it was a brand new passport) that exceeded anything I have ever experienced from EL AL or other carriers when travelling to/from Israel. We were quickly escorted to the aircraft for boarding (with military watching) and very quickly departed - the ground time of the aircraft was minimal. Otherwise, the flight was uneventful......the DHC-7 sure got off the ground quickly!
FoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2806 posts, RR: 5 Reply 8, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3081 times:
Quoting NYCFlyer (Reply 5): Why would anyone fly from Jerusalem to Sde Dov, or vice versa? That's less than an hour's drive. And there are obviously no int'l connection opportunities here. Please enlighten me!
Forgive me, my knowledge of Israeli geography is somewhat limited. I must have been thinking of the flights from Jerusalem to Eilat, and from Sde Dov to Eilat, but somehow mixed these up and had the impression that there were also flights between Sde Dov and Jerusalem. But if they are so close, then of course that wouldn't make sense. Anyway, I was right about the Arkia Dash 7s at least!
Dutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 58 Reply 9, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3059 times:
Fox Bravo, there were in fact some flights between Dov and Jerusalem airport during this period - a couple per day - although the cities are very close, I guess that there must have been some local demand for air service. The flight that I took did originate in Dov, and flew Dov-Jerusalem-Eilat.
RedChili From Norway, joined Jul 2005, 2053 posts, RR: 2 Reply 10, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3048 times:
I remember once a few years ago that some people at TLV were striking and basically just sitting down at the runway, blocking it for traffic. At that time, international arrivals were routed to Atarot. I don't remember when this was.
An225 From Israel, joined May 2005, 165 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3055 times:
It is funny. I just had a chat with a close friend of mine yesterday about the time when we worked together for Arkia in ground ops department, and JRS airport came up.
Short historic background:
Ok, so Jerusalem airport (IATA code JRS) or as we call it in Israel "Atarot International Airport" was occupied in 1967 during the "six days war". It was built by the British Mandatory Occupation Forces before 1948, and was during this 19 years period under the control of Jordan.
When Israel took hold of this territory as part of the whole Jerusalem and West Bank area, we got also the airport and facilities, and the original terminal building was used till the 2nd Intifada in 2000, with no external changes. A short anecdote, this airport was used in the mid-80s for a Hollywood movie "Every Time We Say Goodbye" staring Tom Hanks in the role of an RAF pilot. The airport is located in very close proximity to two Palestinian residential areas: refugee camps and villages
Airport layout (IAA data):
Elevation: 2485 feet (828 m)
Runway: One 12-30, 1965X45m
Lighting and navigation aids: PAPI (30 & 12 runway), standard runway lighting, tower light beacon, NDB beacon, ILS (30 runway), DME and outer marker.
Aprons and parking stands: Alpha and Bravo Aprons has 15 stands for light aircraft, up to BN2 and PA34; Charlie Apron - three stands for medium and heavy aircraft in front of the terminal (1 up to DHC7/ATR42, 2 up to B767), Helipad.
Fuel and oils: 100LL & Jet A1; regular and 100W oils.
No maintenance facilities.
Terminal building: this is the original building with control tower on the roof built by the British with no extensions or external changes (AFAIK). However it had enough capacity for the level of operations till year 2000
Arkia used to operate for years domestic flights with DHC7's to JRS from ETH. Most of the flights were transit flights - a short stopover for loading/offloading pax and cargo (mainly small parcels), and the flight continued to SDV or TLV and most of the times to HFA. I had the opportunity to fly in these flights at least three times as a kid and a grown-up and I don't remember feeling the same as FlyPrivate when taking off, just the usual steep take-off which is normal for Dash 7's.
When I worked for Arkia between 1996 and 1997 I know that JRS had very little traffic. It had Arkia daily D7's and also smaller Arkia aircraft such as the Chieftain. I had the opportunity to be the ramp agent that handled these transit flights in TLV station. Another domestic airline, Israir operated for a while, but I am not sure for how long.
As far as I know, Aeroflot had a some kind of operations from JRS but this was not for long. The main problem was (and still is) that this airport is considered by most countries as an occupied territory, so they will not accept traffic which originates from this airport. In other words, if an airline will try and file a flight plan with JRS as origin or destination, the local authorities will not allow that. This was the case eversince 1967, and applies also to charter flights.
One extraordinary operations was done by Arkia in one of the 1996 winter season Saturdays, when the Israel Airport authority workers union decided to strike. Since Arkia has most of its international charter operations on Saturdays, we decided to bypass this strike by operating our flights from JRS. We had ferried one B737-200Adv (4X-ABO) and four or five B757's on Friday, and transported all passengers to JRS by buses. We had to reduce the amount of fuel to minimal because of the short runway, so one of the B757's and the B737 had to stop to refuel in Cyprus. The flight plans for all flights were fallse in order to avoid the political problem of using this airport, so the origin airport was written TLV although it was JRS. I believe that the authorities in Europe were holding a blind eye or they actually didn't know about this big lie, because they accepted these flight plans. The take-offs on this morning were spectacular: these aircraft had to use most of the rain covered runway, shooting through the splashes of water in heavey rain and some clouds, and since the end of the runway was not visible from the aprons, it looked like each aircraft was running outside the runway but after a few seconds you could see them in a very very steep take off - mainly since the danger of terrorist attack using heat-seeking missiles before they vanished in the low-altitude cloudbase. You can imagine that we were reliefed when we heared the captains of all aircrafts declaring "take-off on XX hours XX minutes, goodbye".
JRS airport used to have a busy private aircraft ops. It had some business jets visiting, especially of wealthy Jewish people. It had also one or two flight schools and some private small planes which were based there.
Current status and situation:
JRS is unfortunately closed for aircraft operations of all kinds (including military). When the 2nd Intifade begun the military ordered the IAA (Israel Airport Authority) to close down since the area became an active war zone. Aircraft were in real danger of being shot down by small arms fire and hand-held missiles due to close proximity to hostile population, and also due to danger posed to airport and airline personnel. Soon after the whole facility was transferred to the use of the military forces, and AFAIK at least on one occasion an anti-tank missile was fired by the Palestinians toward the terminal building, and small arms fire was shot constantly. However, almost a year ago the airport was handed back to the IAA but it remains closed since the threat is still active. In my opinion, the days of JRS are over, at least as an Israeli airport. Israel will probably return the area in which this airport is situated back to the Palestinian Authority in the future, and hopefully this will be the beginning of a new chapter for this airport.
I hope that this very long "report" gave you the needed info, and was interesting.
Vfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 3592 posts, RR: 5 Reply 12, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3013 times:
I did some more research regarding the domestic netwok.
Until late 2003, there were also up to half a dozen daily flights from Sde Dov to Kiryat Shmona in North Israel (2900ft runway), but these seem to have been axed with the withdrawal of Arkia's Dash 7s. Rosh Pina has been cut down to three daily flights from Sde Dov in 2004 because of decreasing demand. None of them seem to have (had) direct flights to Eilat. Eilat obviously was the main domestic route from Jerusalem as well, with flights originating at Haifa, Sde Dov or Ben Gurion to cut down ground time at Atarot. All operations at Jerusalem were binned in early 2001 (?).
So, the domestic network now is down to Sde Dov-Eilat/Haifa/Rosh Pina, Ben Gurion-Eilat and Haifa-Eilat. Additionally, there are also domestic flights from Sde Dov to Ein Yahav by Elrom Aviation with PA31s.
As far as Ovda is concerned, my understanding is that there are no domestic flights from there. If am not mistaken, it is a military air base that only takes the international travel that can't go to Eilat because of its short runway and small apon (I think Boeing 757s are the larget jets Eilat can accommodate). The same is true for Yotvata which serves as Eilat's reserve airport for turboprops (Arkia operated there during Eilat's closure for renovation).
I found this interesting section on the ISRAIR website:
Quote: Israel has a number of airports scattered around the country. The main airports in Israel are the Ben-Gurion International Airport where most visitors usually arrive and Eilat International Airport at the southern tip of Israel. Ben-Gurion (TLV) airport handles most of the flights arriving to Israel from international destinations, yet some internal flights also embark from here. In Ben-Gurion, national flights leave from terminal 2 which is separated from the main, international terminal. Ben-Gurion airport is only 25 kilometers from Tel-Aviv and can be easily reached by taxi or bus. Short and long term parking facilities are available.
Eilat International Airport is located in the city of Eilat on the northernmost tip of the Red Sea. This airport serves both national and international traffic, and is frequented by many European tourists craving the sunny beaches of Eilat. The airport is situated near the city center and just a five minute walk from the beach.
Sede Dov (Dov Airfield) is located inside the city of Tel-Aviv, on a stretch of beach at its northern end. Sede dov serves flights to Eilat, Rosh Pina and Haifa. This airport it allows fast and efficient travel from the Tel-Aviv metropolis to the southern (eilat) and northern (Haifa, Rosh Pina, Kiriat Shmona) parts. The airport can be reached easily by bus, taxi or car (parking facilities are available).
Rosh Pina (Machanayim) Airport is the gateway for flights to the Galilee. Located in the beautiful Hula Valley, this airport offers visitors quick access to sites in northern Israel: Zefat (Safad), Mount Hermon, the Sea of Galilee (Keneret), the Golan Heights and many more. This airport carries limited traffic and may be closed when no flight is scheduled.
Haifa Airport is located in the city of Haifa between the Mediterranean Sea and the Carmel Mountains. This airport serves local flights to other national destinations in Israel. The city of Haifa blends the beauty of Mediterranean seaport with the tranquility of the forested Carmel Mountains. Haifa is Israel’s third largest city and holds many attractions for the visitor.
Ovda airport is located in the Negev desert about thirty kilometers from Eilat. This airport serves both national and international carriers, and is often used to access Eilat and the Arava. Buses and taxis connect this airport with Eilat.
FoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2806 posts, RR: 5 Reply 13, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2999 times:
Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 9): Fox Bravo, there were in fact some flights between Dov and Jerusalem airport during this period - a couple per day - although the cities are very close, I guess that there must have been some local demand for air service. The flight that I took did originate in Dov, and flew Dov-Jerusalem-Eilat.
Aha! Good to know I wasn't crazy (at least not in this particular instance). Thanks, Dutchjet!
An225, great report. The wealth of real aviation knowledge and experience in posts like this is what keeps me coming back to Airliners.net.
Focus From Israel, joined Feb 2001, 69 posts, RR: 1 Reply 14, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2984 times:
I'll try to shed some light on the dimensions of this tiny country...
Unfortunately, domestic flights are not very useful in Israel. Israel has three major metropolis areas: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. All are extremely close to one another and do not justify traveling by air. Driving time from Haifa to Jerusalem (the most distant pair) is about an hour and half. Combine this with the lengthy security process you must go through at every Israeli airport, and you get the basic idea. There's simply no use for a domestic air network.
The only place that actually justifies domestic flying here is Eilat. Eilat is a resort city, located by the Red Sea, that enjoys sunny and warm weather about 330 days a year. When things are calm, it is also a popular incoming tourist destination. Driving time from Tel Aviv to Eilat, as already mentioned, is about 5 hours. Therefore, many people prefer flying.
Rosh Pina - also mentioned above - is a beautiful town in northern Israel, about 2.5 hours from Tel Aviv. It has a small airstrip, and receives some scheduled activity. However, ground transportation to and from Rosh Pina is virtually nonexistent and thus the airport can be of no use to most weekend travelers (the area in which Rosh Pina is located is very popular as a weekend getaway).
Other than TLV, ETH, HFA and Rosh Pina (and sometimes Ovda for int'l charters), most civil airports handle mainly private, one engine props. There are a few flight schools, and a few sightseeing services. That's just about it. There's just not enough people here to economically justify more than that...
RedChili From Norway, joined Jul 2005, 2053 posts, RR: 2 Reply 16, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2937 times:
Quoting RedChili (Reply 10): I remember once a few years ago that some people at TLV were striking and basically just sitting down at the runway, blocking it for traffic. At that time, international arrivals were routed to Atarot.
I made a search at the Jerusalem Post and found an article from 22 October 1993 with the headline: "IAI workers close down airport." Jpost wants payment to read the article, but they gave the following piece of the article for free:
"Airport manager Shaul Hazan knew the demonstration was to take place and tried to block access from the IAI plant to the runways, but the crowd of demonstrators, some using forklifts and other small vehicles, pushed the barriers aside and took over the main runway. Workers also took over the small runway used for light aircraft. IAI workers launched the mass action to protest the ..."
If I remember correctly, this meant that several international flights were forced to land at Atarot.
I have found out that the first flight by Arkia from JRS was on July 16, 1967. The airport was closed in the first week of October 2000 when all road leading to the airport were declared a no-go zone for Israelis. As far as I know, limited operations started again after a while before coming to a halt again in early 2001. Arkia had decided in early 2000 (?) to close down its operation because of dwindling passenger numbers, but decided in spring 2000 to continue flights. The Intifada than brought an end to commercial flights from the airport (it apepars that in addition to what I posted above, Arkia at a time not only served Sde Dov, Haifa and eilat, but also Rosh Pina from JRS).
Before 1967, the airport was known as Qalandia/Kolundia. In the 1950s, it had its own airline, Arab Airways (Jerusalem) Ltd. which served Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Aqaba and Jeddah.
The Palestinians have plans to use the airport as a regional airport for Ramallah. As it appears, the airport, technically speaking, does not belong to Jerusalem, but to the West Bank, and there have been attempts in the past to annex it by the Israelis to avoid that it comes under the control of a Palestinian state at some point. Moderate Palestinians have obvioulsy suggested a dual use of the airport by building an additional Palestinian terminal on the other end of the airfield.
Note the tiny apron. Max. size is a Boeing 757 (Arkia has brought in the -300) and there is only a limited number of stands (for jets, only two, and they limit the number of movements on the apron).
Ovda in contrast has more than 3.000m, but is almost 40miles north of Eilat.
Interestingly enough Aqaba airport in Jordan and Taba airport in Egypt are literally just around the corner from Eilat. In the 1990s, there were even plans to have a singe Aqaba/Eilat airport jointly used by Israel and Jordan as Aqaba airport's 3000m runway literally runs along the Israeli/Jordan border on the outskirts of Eilat. AFAIK, the plan was to build a separate terminal on the Israeli side. Plans obviously have been shelved in favour of a new Eilat airport at Beer Ora 12miles north of the city.
LY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 11 Reply 21, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2830 times:
Eilat is one unique airport, it is ridiculously close to streets, buildings, the beach etc. which is obviously great if you're a spotter/enthusiast! Another interesting feature is the virtual lack of taxiways (as you can see in the picture)... FYI, Ovda is a joint military/civil field, built after Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt. Taba was one of the Sinai airfields that were previously used by the IDF/AF, and needed replacements in the Negev in the early 80's after the peace treaty.
Flyprivate From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 105 posts, RR: 0 Reply 22, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2800 times:
For all you Arkia fans!
Im proud to say that My immediate Family purchased 65% of Arkia Airlines this week! As someone that Loves Aviation This is a Dream Come True!
As far as i understand Everything is premature and i dont know whats going on and whats going to be. Comments could be cool!
all i really care about is to Fly Jumpseat When I fly to Eilat ( From Tlv )
Send me an email
Also - im sure its hard to belive
but u can try me