The civilian airport at Sde Dov in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv will be closed to civilian flights in the coming months, and will be closed to military flights in the next two and a half years. However, civilian flights to Eilat will continue to operate out of the military airport until 2019.
The agreement to demolish the civilian aiport was signed on Wednesday following a discussion which included Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the heads of the Ministry of Defense, and the heads of the Ministry of Transportation.
The first of 4, 000 housing units is expected to be built after the civilian airport is demolished. A further 12, 000 housing units will be built once the military section of the airport is demolished. All of the housing units are expected to be completed by the year 2020.
A ministerial council was supposed to take place last Sunday to discuss a request to delay the demolition of the Sde Dov airport until an alternative is found for flights between Eilat and Tel Aviv. However, high ranking government officials were worried that this delay would delay the overall IDF move to the Negev. Therefore, council meeting was cancelled.
Seven major IDF bases in the center of the country will be demolished and moved to the Negev, according to an agreement was signed a year and a half ago between the Ministry of Defense and the Israel Land Authority. A large portion of the funding for the move is coming from property developers who have bought the land that Sde Dov and the other military bases are on. Sde Dov airport is in a highly sought after area, as it sits right on the beach, and just steps away from the Tel Aviv port.
There are plans to build over 60, 000 housing units on former IDF property, something which is expected to play a large part in lowering housing prices in the center of the country. Meanwhile, the IDF is expected to make over five billion shekels from the land deals.
The finance minister has been against the immediate closure of the civilian airport as he is worried about the economic impact the closure will have on the city of Eilat. The southern city is also closing its airport, as a new airport is being built north of the city. Finance Minister Kahlon believes that these closures will cause a severe economic downturn to occur in the city over the next few years.
However, Ben Gurion International Airport is expected to serve as a substitute for Sde Dov for the time being.