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Ovda International Airport, Israel

May 31st, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Ovda International Airport (IATA: VDA, ICAO: LLOV), sometimes transliterated as Uvda, is the southern international airport of Israel, located about 60 km (40 miles) north of Eilat. Ovda was built as a military airport in 1980, when Israel vacated the Sinai Peninsula as part of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, and the Israeli Air Force needed alternative airfields to its Sinai bases. Nowadays, the airport also serves commercial flights to and from Eilat, especially for large planes which cannot use the shorter runway at Eilat Airport. The airport is expected to have caesed civilian operations by 2010 when Eilat's new international airport becomes operational.

Ovda Airport started life as an airbase for the Israeli Air Force, constructed by the United States as a replacement for Etzion Air 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. Previously all charter flights from Europe had landed at Etzion Airport, however this was one of three airports in the Sinai that were handed over to Egypt as part of the Camp David Accords. A civilian terminal was built at the airport which handled direct charter flights from Europe.

In 1988 a decision was made that international flights bringing tourists to Eilat would land at Ovda, instead of at Eilat. This allowed the operation of large, wide-bodied craft, such as the Boeing 747, which cannot operate from Eilat Airport. 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.

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.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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