Operating to Israel – Part 1: Airports & Local Area
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operations to Israel.
Operating to Israel involves unique operating considerations, restrictions and security procedures that can complicate trip planning. For general aviation (GA) operators who travel to this region on a routine basis, missions go smoothly and can be set up on relatively short notice. However, for first time operators it’s best to allow five to seven business days lead time for trip planning and obtaining required authorizations.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Primary airports
Most GA traffic to Israel goes to Tel Aviv (LLBG), a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE) with around the clock customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance, fueling and ground handling services. LLBG is a busy airport and often heavily congested. The other airport operators use, either as a first stop in country or a domestic leg from LLBG, is Eliat (LLET). LLET is also a 24-hour AOE with CIQ and ground handling that mirrors airport hours of operation. LLET has only a single 6234 foot runway and GA parking opportunities are limited here. While other airports in the country are accessible to GA, these are used only on very rare occasions.
2. Airport curfews and restrictions
While LLBG operates 24/7 for scheduled commercial activity, GA is subject to rotating curfews, as published by NOTAM. In a typical week there may be four to nine different GA closure periods, primarily due to peak periods of commercial activity. Closures range from 30 minutes to several hours and are usually published at least a week prior. Weekly rotating GA closures, at time of writing, were 0100-0150 daily local for arrivals and 0140-0500 daily local for departures. Note that closures may apply only for takeoffs, only for landings or for both GA takeoffs and landings. While LLET does not have GA curfews, there’s a prior permission required (PPR) mandate, due to very limited aircraft parking. LLET PPRs should be applied for as early as possible, with at least 72 hours prior notice.
3. Airport slots
Landing permits and airport slots are required for all operations to/from LLBG. Slots are normally obtained after a landing permit has been issued. Slot requests for LLBG require 48 hours prior notice for Monday-Thursday operation and 72 hours’ notice for Friday, Saturday and Sunday ops. Note that slot approvals are never issued more than 7 days prior to the estimated time of arrival (ETA)/estimated time of departure (ETD). Slots for LLBG have no +/- validity and must be used for scheduled times. Per an issued NOTAM, in order to adhere to slot times, aircraft will be cleared to pushback and taxi up to 10 minutes prior to the calculated take-off time.
4. Peak periods at LLBG
Airport slot availability is limited at LLBG with slots normally not available during peak periods of scheduled commercial movements. Peak scheduled commercial periods are typically 0450-0800 and 1400-1800 local. While there may be opportunities to obtain slots during peak times, it’s not something to count on. It’s recommended to have Plan B contingency options in place when trying to obtain slots during peak periods.
5. Regional airports
Amman – Marka (OJAM) and Queen Alia Intl (OJAI) – is just 68 miles from LLBG and frequently used in conjunction with flights to/from Israel. Direct flight between OJAI or OJAM and LLBG are permissible and can be set up relatively quickly. Likewise, Larnaca (LCLK), some 210 miles from LLBG, is an often-used airport when traveling to/from Israel and direct flights between the two airports can be orchestrated relatively easily and quickly.
6. Additional Reading: Israel operations
Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.
- Part 1 – Airports and local area
- Part 2 – Flight and operating restrictions
- Part 3 – Permits and operating procedures
When traveling to Israel, operators primarily utilize LLBG and some may travel to LLET. It’s important to understand the restrictions when traveling to either airport as it may involve slots, a PPR, or curfews due to congestion at the airport during peak hours.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers flight and operating restrictions when traveling to Israel.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Israel, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.