Ovda Airport

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Ovda Airport

נְמַל הַתְּעוּפָה עֻבְדָּה
مطار عوفدا
Ovda Terminal.jpg
Airport typePublic/Military
OperatorIsrael Airports Authority, Israeli Air Force
ServesEilat, Israel
Elevation AMSL1,492 ft / 445 m
Coordinates29°56′25″N 34°56′9″E / 29.94028°N 34.93583°E / 29.94028; 34.93583
VDA is located in Israel
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03L/21R 8,530 2,600 Asphalt
03R/21L 9,843 3,000 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
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 Valley opens.[3]


Early history[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

ASL Airlines France Seasonal charter: Paris–Charles de Gaulle[8]
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich[9][10]
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
I-Fly Seasonal charter: Moscow–Vnukovo[11]
Lufthansa Seasonal: Frankfurt,[12][13] Munich[12][13]
Nordwind Airlines Seasonal charter: Kazan (begins 26 December 2018),[14] Krasnodar (begins 31 December 2018),[14] Mineralnye Vody (begins 1 January 2019),[14] Moscow–Sheremetyevo (begins 26 December 2018),[14] Nizhny Novgorod (begins 3 January 2019),[14] Rostov-on-Don–Platov (begins 30 December 2018),[14] Samara (begins 29 December 2018),[14] St Petersburg (begins 30 December 2018),[14] Ufa (begins 30 December 2018),[14] Vorenzh (begins 3 January 2019),[14] Yekaterinburg (begins 27 December 2018)[14]
Rossiya Airlines Seasonal charter: Moscow–Vnukovo[15]
Ryanair Seasonal: Bergamo,[16] Berlin–Schönefeld, Bratislava, Budapest, Charleroi, Gdańsk, Hahn, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Kaunas, Kraków, Poznań, Prague, Warsaw–Modlin
Transavia Seasonal: Amsterdam[17]
Transavia France Seasonal: Paris–Orly
Ural Airlines Seasonal: Moscow–Domodedovo,[18] St Petersburg[19]
Wizz Air Seasonal: Budapest, Bucharest, London–Luton,[20] Riga, Sofia, Vienna,[21] Warsaw–Chopin


Total passengers and aircraft movements at Ovda Airport[1]
Year Total passengers Total aircraft movements
2009 104,340 1,474
2010 124,316 1,370
2011 139,353 1,466
2012 118,732 1,006
2013 121,395 1,074
2014 94,585 821
2016 128,595
2017 209,515 1,631

Ground transportation[edit]

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[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Facts and Figures". Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Israel Airports Authority. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c d e f "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. ^ "Leisure flights - Charter flights". aslairlines.fr.
  9. ^ "Edelweiss תטוס לאילת מאוקטובר 2018". tnet.org.il. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  10. ^ Liu, JIm (5 June 2018). "Edelweiss adds Eilat/Ovda service in W18". Routesonline. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Availability". tui.ru. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Lufthansa announces six new winter destinations from Frankfurt and Munich". World Airline News. 20 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  13. ^ a b Scheer, Steven (19 July 2018). "Lufthansa to start flights to Israeli Red Sea resort Eilat". Reuters. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Flight Search". pegasys.pegast.ru.
  15. ^ "Flight schedule". bgoperator.ru. 23 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Ryanair W17 new routes as of 05MAR17". Routesonline. Retrieved 5 March 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.

External links[edit]

Media related to Ovda Airport at Wikimedia Commons