Welcome to Eilat Ramon Airport

By Sarah Mann | Published on 10/5/2021
The Ramon Airport (also known locally as the Eilat Ramon airport) is a new and modern airport, situated in the Timna Valley, in Israel’s Arava desert. Opened officially in 2019, it is approximately 18 km north of the city of Eilat, directly on the Red Sea.

The bridge connected to the plane at the airport terminal

 The bridge connected to the plane at the airport terminal. Photo by VOO QQQ on Unsplash

The Ramon Airport is Israel’s second-largest airport, after Ben Gurion airport (close to Tel Aviv).  It can be reached directly from Highway (Route) 90 and serves as the southern gateway to Israel, as well as acting as the country’s primary diversion airport.

History of the Eilat airport before Ramon 

The old Eilat airport was established in 1949, a year after the creation of the State of Israel.  During Operation ‘Ovda’ the Negev brigade captured Eilat (which was then named Umm Rashrash), famously raising the flag there. A few months later, the Air Force paved the first runway so that light aircraft could take off and land there, ensuring Eilat was not cut off from the centre of the country. The airport was actually close to the water, in what would later become the beginning of ‘downtown’ Eilat.

Until the 1970s, the area did not really increase in size but as the years passed, tourism increased and Eilat expanded from a small fishing village to a destination both for Israelis and international tourists. By the 1990s, it was clear that having an airport at the entrance to the city centre was a safety concern so the government drew up plans for a new airport, to be constructed in a more open space. On 18 March 2019, the old Eilat airport stopped receiving passengers and air traffic was moved to the new, modern, Ramon airport.

People queuing at check-in at the airport. Photo by Phil Mosley on Unsplash

Who was Ilan Ramon?

The Ramon Airport in Eilat is named after Colonel Ilan Ramon, an Israeli fighter pilot who was also Israel’s first astronaut. After a distinguished career in the Israeli Air Force, he trained at NASA and, between 1997-2003, logged 15 days, 22 hours and 20 minutes in space. On January 16th 2003, along with six other crew members, he set off on the Columbia - this was a dedicated science and research mission. 

Although not a religious Jew, in space he ordered kosher food and observed the sabbath, famously remarking: "I feel I am representing all Jews and all Israelis. In total, the crew conducted approximately 80 experiments. Tragically, he and his colleagues were killed when, on 1st February, the space shuttle Columbia exploded and disintegrated, during re-entry, just before its scheduled landing. 

Four days later, his body was found, as well as remains of some objects he had brought with him, including - remarkably - excerpts from his personal diary. Ilan Ramon was posthumously awarded a Medal of Appreciation from the IDF Chief of General Staff and buried in Israel in a military funeral attended by both the Israeli Prime Minister and the President of Israel.

An antelope in Arava Desert

An antelope in Arava Desert. Photo by Dennis van Lith on Unsplash

Location of Ramon Airport

The Ramon Airport is located approximately 18 km north of Eilat, close to the beautiful Timna Valley Park in the Arava desert. With Highway 90 directly outside the airport, this means that passengers can be in Eilat within 15 minutes.

Public transportation from Ramon Airport to Eilat

From Ramon airport to Eilat, there are several ways of travelling:

1. Getting from Eilat Ramon Airport to Eilat by bus - this is by far and away from the cheapest option. Four different lines, all operated by Egged, run regularly to and from the airport: Route 30 - from Ramon Airport to Eilat Central Bus Station, every 20-30 minutes (5.30 am to 11 pm); Route 50 - from Ramon Airport to Eilat’s hotel area and the Taba border crossing with Egypt (5.15 am to 8.45 pm); Route 31 - from Ramon Airport to Eilat’s northern neighbourhoods (5 am to 8 am); Route 32 - from Ramon Airport to Eilat’s southern neighbourhoods (5 am to 8 am). The cost of a ticket is 4.20 NIS (approximately $1.30)

2. Getting from Eilat Ramon Airport to Eilat by taxi - there is a taxi rank situated outside the terminal building and from there you can easily find a taxi. A standard fare for this 15-20 minute Ramon Airport to Eilat taxi ride is approximately 100 NIS ($25).

3. Getting from Eilat Ramon Airport to Eilat with car rental services - car rental agencies can be found in the main terminal, close to the arrivals section. These include Hertz, Budget and Avis to name but a few. Car rental in Israel is ideal if you want a certain level of independence on vacation, or if you want to explore. Whether you’re looking for a small, economical model, a larger family car, a convertible or even a 4X4 for off-road desert trips, the airport’s car rental representatives are all very helpful and speak excellent English, making the process fast and smooth.

4. Private transfer - If you arrive at Eilat Ramon Airport within the framework of your Petra 1-Day Tour from Tel Aviv with Flights you will be picked up by a company representative who will drop you off at the Arava border not far from Eilat on your way to Jordan.

Driving a rental car

Driving a rental car. Photo by Why Kei on Unsplash

Getting From Jerusalem to Eilat Ramon Airport

The distance from Jerusalem to Ramon airport is approximately 301 km.

1. Getting from Jerusalem to Eilat Ramon Airport by bus - there is no direct service from Jerusalem to the airport, but it is possible to travel from Jerusalem to Beer Sheva by Egged bus and then transfer - with the minimum of ease, within the terminal - onto another bus, which will take you directly to Ramon airport. Bus lines 446 and 470 run regularly between the two cities and a one-way ticket costs approximately 26 NIS ($8)  From there, bus 397 runs directly to the airport - it leaves about once an hour but it is advisable to check the schedule beforehand.

2. Getting from Eilat Ramon Airport to Jerusalem by taxi - this is a more costly option since the journey takes close to 4 hours from door to door.  If you hail a taxi at the rank, your bill could be an eye-watering NIS 1500 for the ride (466 USD).

3. Getting from Ramon Airport to Jerusalem with Ramon Airport car rental services -  Israel has a number of good car rental companies, including Hertz, Shlomo Sixt and Europcar.

4. Getting from Eilat Ramon Airport to Jerusalem with a private transfer - this is a comfortable and convenient way to make the journey, since when you book through a trustworthy tour operator, once you have reserved your service and paid, everything is taken care of. To find more about private transfers with Bein Harim, feel free to call us or write to us via the “Contact Us” form.

Timna National Park. King Solomon's Pillars

Timna National Park. King Solomon's Pillars. Photo credit: © Oksana Mats

From Tel Aviv to Eilat Ramon Airport 

The distance from central Tel Aviv to Ramon airport is approximately 327 km. 

1. Getting from Tel Aviv to Eilat Ramon Airport by plane - it is surprisingly easy to fly from Tel Aviv to Eilat - there are several direct flights to Ramon Airport each day, leaving from Ben Gurion airport with Arkia and Israir airlines.

2. Getting from Tel Aviv to Eilat Ramon Airport by bus - there is no direct bus from Tel Aviv to Ramon airport but, as with Jerusalem (see above), it is possible to connect by taking bus 390 (to Eilat) from Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station (on Levinsky Street) to Rotem Junction/Oren then transferring to bus 397, which will drop you at the Ramon airport. The 390 bus leaves every 2 hours. The 397 bus runs every 1-2 hours. For schedules and connections, please check with the Egged bus website.

3. Getting from Tel Aviv to Eilat Ramon Airport by taxi - a four-hour taxi drive from Ramon airport to central Tel Aviv will, like Jerusalem (see above) be expensive and run into large sums.

4. Getting from Eilat Ramon Airport to Tel Aviv with car rental services - again, as above, car rental is an excellent option for the independent traveller and a number of agencies will be able to assist you, once you find yourself in the Arrivals area.

5. Getting from Eilat Ramon Airport to Tel Aviv with a private transfer  - again, this is a comfortable and convenient way to make the journey, since when you book through a trustworthy tour operator, someone else takes care of the logistics. To find more about private transfers with Bein Harim, feel free to call us or write to us via the “Contact Us” form.  We will be happy to provide you with a competitive quote.

Eilat Bay view from the Hotel

Eilat Bay view from the Hotel. Photo by Boris Izmaylov on Unsplash

Parking at Eilat Ramon Airport

There are four parking lots at the front of the terminal - for taxis, for the general public, for employees/authorised personnel and for rental vehicle companies. Parking does have a charge, which is 5 NIS (1.5 USD) per hour and 25 NIS (8 USD) for a flat rate per day.

Services at Eilat Ramon Airport

The passenger terminal at the airport consists of an area of ​​about 30,000 square meters and is large enough to accommodate approximately 2 million arrivals each year. Airport facilities include a large lounge, restaurants and snack bars, duty-free shops, VAT refund counter, synagogue, play area for young children and a cell phone charging station. At the entrance to the terminal, and around it, are parking areas for taxis and private vehicles, as well as car rental companies, a public transport area and stops for shuttle buses.

International & domestic airlines at Eilat Ramon Airport

Ramon Airport services encompass a growing number of airlines, including Wizz Air, Ryan Air, Finn Air, Lufthansa, Transavia and Pobeda to European destinations, as well as Russia. Israir and Arkia both operate several domestic flights a day, to Ben Gurion Airport in central Israel. It is expected that in the next year or two, more airlines will begin flying to Ramon airport, including Easyjet.

Passengers entering a Ryanair plane

Passengers entering a Ryanair plane. Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash

Travelling from Eilat to Petra

Tours to Petra from Eilat are easy to take since Eilat shares a border with Jordan and from Aqaba (12 minutes drive from the border) it is less than two hours drive to Petra. Petra is one of the world’s great wonders, an ancient Nabatean city, famed for its astonishing Treasury, pink-red coloured rocks and magnificent desert scenery. 

Whether you have just a day free or want to spend more time there, hiking its trails and marvelling at its archaeology, taking an organised tour to Petra from Eilat is highly recommended - all visas, accommodation and tickets can be arranged for you, making your stay comfortable and your trip unforgettable.