Eilat Airport (ETH)
March 2001

During the first week of March 2001 we visited the holiday resort town of Eilat at the Red Sea for our annual holiday with my wife and daughters. We departed Amsterdam International airport onboard a Transavia Boeing 757 bound for Ovda airport. Ovda is Israel's second international airport, located in the south of the country about 60 km (40 miles) north of the city of Eilat. Ovda was originally built as a military airport, Nowadays; the airport also serves as the destination for many commercial flights to Eilat, especially for large planes which cannot use the shorter runway at Eilat.

After two hours drive onboard an air conditioned coach, through the desert next to the Egyptian border we arrived out the Caesar hotel. Situated next to the Eilat Lagoon the beautiful Caesar hotel is a great place for a family holiday. It has a nice swimming pool and lots of activities for the kids. It is also very close to the Luna Park marina and Neptune beach were you can enjoy modern lounge music and excellent restaurants. As an aviation enthusiast the hotel had an additional advantage. Due to its close proximity to the airport it gave me plentiful opportunity to photograph the arrival and departing airplanes at short walk from the swimming pool.

Eilat airport has a single runway (03/21) which is 1900 meters long running from the centre of the city (South) to the North. The small terminal building is located on the south side and across it is Ofira Park, which is a good photo location for all aircraft’s landing and parking positions. The main ramp offers 5 parking positions ranging from an ATR-42 up to a Boeing B757 aircraft.

A 300mm zoom lens is suitable for all aircraft movements on the ramp. The light is ideal up to about 3 pm in the afternoon. Pictures for the park have an added bonus as they offer dramatic background views. Additionally the park provides picnic tables and shade from the hot midday sun. A second photo location is the Dan Panorama Hotel which is located next to the park. Most of its rooms looking towards the West overlook the airport. Photography is also possible from the Hotel swimming pool deck (second floor).

A third photo position is from the Papaya Beach house along the Neptune beach. It lies next to the final approach path of the runway. Almost all arrival approach from the Red Sea and can be photographed with a 70-300 mm lens. Again best time for photography is in the morning until 3 pm. Spotting and photography can best be done while sun-bathing on a beach chair enjoying a cool drink. When the wind is calm there is an exception and aircraft can approach from the other end. I had a great time there while watching my two daughters playing on the beach. After 3 pm taking pictures can best be done from Central Park. With clear weather it is possible to photograph the inbound aircraft on short finals with the distant Jordanian mountains in the background.

PS: Despite the presence of occasional police cars and military jeeps, I found the atmosphere very relaxed. I did not stand next to the fence but instead kept within the park boundary.

Eilat Log March 2001
4X-EBMB757 El Al (old colors)
4X-EBU B757 El Al
4X-ATL ATR-42 Israir
4X-ATK ATR-42 Israir
4X-ATM ATR-42 IsrAir
4X-ATO ATR-42 Israir
4X-ATN ATR-42 Israir
4X-AVW ATR-72 Arkia
4X-AVZ ATR-72 Arkia
4X-BAZ ATR-72 Arkia
4X-AHH Dash 7 Arkia
4X-AHF Dash 7 Arkia
4X-AHJ Dash 7 Arkia
4X-AHC Dash 7 Arkia, special Club Hotel colors
4X-AHA Dash 7 Arkia, special Club Hotel colors
PH-HZC B737 Leased to Israir, basic Transavia colors
Other a/c seen but not logged: El Al B737, private G4 and Arkia BN-2A.

More info on Eilat Airport check out: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eilat_Airport
Nice Map of Eilat: eilathotels.org.il/imgs/uploads/mapa.pdf
DC-3 at Eilat: 4X-AES (cn 6223) Former of the Israeli Air Force as 040, ex Arkia.