Operating since 1938, the Sde Dov Airport is slated to shut down full operations by November 2019, beginning with its military operations in July. Named after Dov Hoz, a Jewish pioneer of aviation, the reconstruction of the airport has been initiated by Israel Land Administration. It has been approved by the Tel Aviv District and Planning Commission to become a residential and commercial space.
Upon its initial opening, the airport served Palestine Airways, with its first flights to Haifa and Beirut. The airport was originally built as a safety solution to allow an accessible transportation route between Tel Aviv and Haifa, where grounds were under fire from fighting forces.
Currently, the airport serves Israel’s domestic flights to Eilat, Haifa and the Northern Galilee, with occasional flights to Cyprus. It is also used as a base for military aviation and operations, which fills about 40% of the airport’s operations.
The airport closure means that all flights will be arriving and departing from Ben Gurion Airport, and will create an immense decrease in the air traffic to Eilat.
Substituting housing real estate for public national infrastructure is strongly opposed by some. Public officials Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi do not agree with the plan to shut down the public facility for private utilization. The current approved blueprint shows that 16,000 new housing units, 6,900 reduced rental apartments, 3,700 hotel rooms, 35 40-story towers, 3 parks, and other office and commercial spaces will be included.
In the recent Globes Real Estate Conference, Huldai says that “Anyone who equates 3,000 affordable housing units to the state’s interest in inland aviation knows nothing about priorities. What significance do 3,000 housing units have in comparison with our link to the outside world and other cities?”