Aqaba-Eliat Airport Feasibility Study: Executive Summary
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Aqaba-Eliat Airport Feasibility Study: Executive Summary

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      The October 1994 signing of the Peace Treaty between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signaled the beginning of an era of unprecedented and historic cooperation between these two nations. The process of normalizing relations between the two countries has many facets and has been gradually codified in individual bilateral agreements. These accords separate political, social, and economic areas such as telecommunications, transportation, maritime borders, and science and technology. One such bilateral specifically addresses issues in the Aqaba-Eilat region at the southern end of the respective countries, and it identified as one area of cooperation the establishment of a joint Israeli/Jordanian airport to serve the needs of the region.

      In support of the peace process, and especially the bilaterals addressing transportation and the Aqaba-Eliat region, The United States Trade and Development Agency TDA) provided a grant to the Jordan Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) sponsoring a study to assess the technical, operational, and financial feasibility of building such an airport. The JCAA awarded Lockheed Martin Management and Data Systems Company a contract to perform this study, which was conducted between October 1995 and June 1996.

      The Aqaba-Eilat Airport Feasibility Study focused on the development of a safe and efficient airspace environment in the Aqaba-Eilat region. This includes the specification of plans for new/expanded terminal facilities, and airside facilities such as runways, taxiways, and aprons. Included is the assessment of improved air traffic control capabilities, specifically the deployment of a surveillance radar serving the terminal area. A principal objective was that this airport would both reflect and complement the aggressive economic growth plans for the region. Specific objectives for both the study and the airport were developed by the study team and approved by the Joint Steering Committee.

      In the final analysis, however, the Aqaba-Eilat Airport Feasibility Study served two primary purposes. First-as noted above-in full accordance with the provisions of the study Terms of Reference (TOR), an airport and terminal configuration was developed and analyzed from technical, operational, and financial perspectives. This effort resulted in the specification of an alternative which in meeting all the various study requirements necessitated tremendous capital requirements. Second-and as importantly-when it became apparent that the financial feasibility of this particular complex was uncertain, an additional alternative, outside the provisions of the TOR, was developed. This additional alternative, and in particular it’s first phase, more directly addresses specific fiscal considerations, and provides a basis for further analysis. While there obviously remains an immense amount of planning, design, and development effort in order to complete the airport project, the results of this study suggest that a facility could be technically, operationally, and financially feasible.

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