Israel Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz stated Tel Aviv requires an alternate international airport after flight delays at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport earlier this week due to fog (The Jerusalem Post, 18-Nov-2010). Mr Katz stated an alternative has not been selected as yet due to restrictions from the country’s air force. Israel’s alternative airport was previously Ovda Airport, but Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority changed it to Cyrpus’ Larnaca Airport in Jul-2010, due to operational and service issues at Ovda. Mr Katz stated the ministry would prefer to establish an alternative on existing airport infrastructure, identifying air force facilities as potential sites. However, the air force has stated it does not want to mix military and civilian flights at the same facility. The ministry is also considering constructing a facility near Haifa Port. Mr Katz also criticised the lack of a more advanced instrument landing system at Ben Gurion, which would allow more aircraft to land in difficult weather.
Israel Government: “Most countries have an air force; in Israel the air force has a country. The main problem is that even when the government decides that an alternative airport is necessary, the air force expresses reservations and things don’t go ahead,” Yisrael Katz, Transportation Minister. Source: The Jerusalem Post, 18-Nov-2010.