Ovda Airport

Ovda Airport
נְמַל הַתְּעוּפָה עֻבְדָּה
مطار عوفدا
Airport type Public/Military
Operator Israel Airports Authority, Israeli Air Force
Serves Eilat, Israel
Elevation AMSL 1,492 ft / 445 m
Coordinates 29°56′25″N 34°56′9″E / 29.94028°N 34.93583°E / 29.94028; 34.93583
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03L/21R 8,530 2,600 Asphalt
03R/21L 9,843 3,000 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passengers 209,078
Source: Israel Airports Authority[1]

Ovda Airport (Hebrew: נְמַל הַתְּעוּפָה עֻבְדָּה, Nemal HaTe'ufa Uvda; Arabic: مطار عوفدا) (IATA: VDA, ICAO: LLOV) is a military air base and civilian airport in the Uvda region of southern Israel, about 60 km (37 mi) north of the city of Eilat. It is the country's second international airport.

Ovda was originally built as a military airport in 1980 following Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula as part of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty because the Israeli Air Force needed alternative airfields to its Sinai bases. Nowadays, in addition to Air Force traffic, the airport also serves as the destination for many commercial flights to Eilat, especially for large aircraft which cannot use the shorter runway and limited apron space at Eilat Airport.[2]

The airport is expected to cease civilian flights once Eilat's new international airport in Timna opens.[3]


Early history

Ovda Airport started out as an airbase for the Israeli Air Force, constructed by the United States as a replacement for Etzion Air Force Base. It opened in 1981. The Israeli Airports Authority began operations from Ovda Air Force Base in 1982, after the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt.[4] Previously all charter flights from Europe had landed at Etzion, however this was one of three airports in the Sinai that were handed over to Egypt as part of the Camp David Accords.[4] A civilian terminal was built at the airport which handled direct charter flights from Europe.[4]

Recent history

In 1988 a decision was made that international flights bringing tourists to Eilat would land at Ovda, instead of at Eilat.[4] This allowed the operation of large, wide-body aircraft, such as the Boeing 747, which cannot operate from Eilat Airport.[4] Since then, most international flights land at Ovda instead of Eilat. The runway at Ovda also allows long range flights to take off for any European destination without the need to refuel.[4]

Today, the airport sees regular scheduled domestic services operated by Israir, Arkia Israel Airlines, and El Al Israel Airlines as well as regular charter services from across Europe. In 2005, the airport had 746 international aircraft movements and 82,479 international passenger movements.[5]

On 1 January 2009, the airport was closed to landing traffic during nighttime until further notice by the Ministry of Transport, due to the deteriorating condition of its runway. As such, there is currently no alternative landing strip in Israel during night time to the Ben Gurion International Airport for large aircraft, that will be forced to fly to Cyprus in case the Ben Gurion runways cannot accept the landing.[2]

On 23 July 2014 after the stoppage of international air traffic to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, due to rocket fire on Israeli cities from Gaza,[6] Ovda Airport was opened to accept all international traffic.[7]

Airlines and destinations

Air Europa Seasonal: Madrid (begins 30 October 2018)[8][9]
ASL Airlines France Seasonal charter: Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich (begins 28 October 2018)[10][11]
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Lufthansa Seasonal: Frankfurt (begins 28 October 2018),[12][13] Munich (begins 10 November 2018)[12][13]
Red Wings Airlines Seasonal charter: Moscow–Domodedovo, St Petersburg
Rossiya Airlines Seasonal charter: Moscow–Vnukovo
Ryanair Seasonal: Bergamo,[14][15] Berlin–Schönefeld, Bratislava, Bremen, Budapest, Charleroi, Gdańsk, Hahn, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Kaunas, Kraków, Poznań, Prague (begins 29 October 2018), Warsaw–Modlin, Weeze
Scandinavian Airlines Seasonal: Stockholm–Arlanda[16]
Transavia Seasonal: Amsterdam (begins 3 November 2018)[17]
Transavia France Seasonal: Paris–Orly
Ural Airlines Seasonal: Moscow–Domodedovo,[18] St Petersburg[19]
Wizz Air Seasonal: Budapest (begins 9 November 2018), Bucharest, London–Luton (begins 28 October 2018),[20] Riga, Sofia (begins 10 November 2018), Vienna (begins 17 November 2018)[21] Warsaw–Chopin


Total passengers and aircraft movements at Ovda Airport[1]
YearTotal passengersTotal aircraft movements
2009 104,3401,474
2010 124,3161,370
2011 139,3531,466
2012 118,7321,006
2013 121,3951,074
2014 94,585821
2016 128,595
2017 209,5151,631

Ground transportation

Ovda Airport is served by a bus service operated by Egged. Bus 282 for 21.5 NIS connects Ovda airport directly to Eilat's central bus station and the hotel district in the city.[22] The Eilat Shuttle door to door shuttle service is coordinated for all arriving and departing flights, and costs $8-$10 per person, from Ovda to Eilat, with other connections to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Aqaba, and Taba.[23]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Facts and Figures". Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Israel Airports Authority. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  2. 1 2 Egozi, Aryeh (2 January 2009). "Emergency Landing". Yedioth Ahronoth. p. 11.
  3. "Eilat's new International Airport On Its Way". IAA. Retrieved 1 May 2007.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "History of Eilat Airport". Israel Airports Authority. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
  5. "Facts and Figures". Israel Airports Authority. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
  6. Sky News Team (22 July 2014). "Airlines Halt Israel Flights Amid Rocket Fire". Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  7. Staff (23 July 2014). "Israel set to open second int'l airport near Eilat in response to flight cancellations". Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  8. הדר, שירי (7 May 2018). "אולה: קו חדש בין מדריד לאילת ב-199 אירו" via Ynet.
  9. Liu, Jim (25 July 2018). "Air Europa plans seasonal Eilat/Ovda service in W18". Routesonline. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  10. "Edelweiss תטוס לאילת מאוקטובר 2018". tnet.org.il. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  11. Liu, JIm (5 June 2018). "Edelweiss adds Eilat/Ovda service in W18". Routesonline. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  12. 1 2 "Lufthansa announces six new winter destinations from Frankfurt and Munich". World Airline News. 20 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  13. 1 2 Scheer, Steven (19 July 2018). "Lufthansa to start flights to Israeli Red Sea resort Eilat". Reuters. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  14. "Ovda FlightTimeTable". Israel Airports Authority. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  15. "Ryanair W17 new routes as of 05MAR17". Routesonline. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  16. "SAS introduces new route to Eilat". SAS. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  17. Liu, Jim (24 April 2018). "Transavia adds Eilat/Ovda service from Nov 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  18. "Версия для печати Летим в Израиль на Красное море с «Уральскими авиалиниями»". JSC «Ural Airlines». Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  19. Liu, Jim (8 September 2016). "Ural Airlines adds Ovda service in W16". Routesonline. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  20. "החל מ-129 שקל? ממש לא. Wizz Air פותחת קו חדש ללונדון - וואלה! תיירות". וואלה! תיירות (in Hebrew). 18 June 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  21. Liu, Jim (20 July 2018). "Wizz Air adds Vienna – Eilat/Ovda service from Nov 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  22. http://www.egged.co.il/Article-4917-Ovda-Airport-Transfer.aspx
  23. "Eilat Shuttle - Transfer from Ovda Airport to Eilat". Eilat Shuttle.

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