Aviation News

October 20, 2010

Palestinians Set to Begin Construction of New Airport in West Bank

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By: BNO News
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The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday announced that it is ready to begin construction works for an International Airport in the West Bank, east of Jerusalem.

The airport is planned to be located in an 8-square-kilometer plot of land. It is part of the Palestinian government’s two-year state institution plan. Currently, there are no civilian airports within the West Bank.

“We are ready to start work on the plot in the first half of next year,” Palestinian Minister of Transportation Sadi al-Kurunz said. “An airport means sovereignty, freedom, progress and economic development.”

Kurunz said that the West Bank airport would have a freight and passenger capacity and will be constructed according to international standards. The nearest airport is Ben Gurion located in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv but no Palestinians can travel through this airport.

The Israeli government requires Palestinian citizens and their descendants living abroad to fly to Amman, Jordan and enter via the Allenby Bridge border crossing in the West Bank.

The project will cost approximately $340 million and the Palestinian Authority expects to receive international donations to contribute with the investment. The plot of land selected, known as Area C, is a region of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control.

However, Kurunz said that they “did not and will not ask permission from Israel” to build the airport as the Oslo Accords provides Palestine the right to construct two airports. The Oslo Accords are the first direct agreement signed by Israel and Palestine in 1993.

The Palestinian Authority has begun training for staff and pilots. Palestine had an airport in the Gaza Strip that was destroyed in 2000, during the Israeli attacks on the West Bank.