Israel’s transportation minister said Thursday the government was in discreet talks with neighboring Jordan over concerns that a new airport near Eilat will pose a safety hazard for the nearby Jordanian airport at Aqaba.
Israel plans to complete construction of the new airport at Timna by the end of 2016, Reuters reported. Its location, only 10 kilometers (six miles) northwest of King Hussein International Airport, has raised concerns, the news agency says.
Jordan complained in June to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over the possibility of dangerously overlapping air corridors.
“The Jordanians are displaying sensitivity on the matter,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz told Israel Radio on Thursday evening. Israel was “managing this,” he added.
“We are, in coordination with various agencies, handling contacts with them discreetly, and the fact is that construction is progressing and the airport will function,” Reuters quoted the minister as saying.
The Transportation and Road Safety Ministry also issued a statement insisting the Timna airport “is being built in accordance with ICAO regulations and, as such, does not create safety risks for the airport at Aqaba.”
The Timna field is slated to be named after Ilan Ramon, a decorated Air Force pilot and Israel’s first astronaut, who was killed in the Columbia space shuttle explosion in 2003.