(Israel Twitter)Sde Dov Airport, שדה דב, lit. Dov Field, مطار سدي دوف, also known as Dov Hoz Airport (Hebrew: נמל התעופה דב הוז, Nemal HaTe'ufa Dov Hoz, Arabic: مطار دوف هوز) (IATA: SDV, ICAO: LLSD) is an airport located in Tel Aviv, Israel which mainly handles domestic flights to Eilat and (Ovda) and northern Israel (the Galilee), and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. It is Tel Aviv's largest airport and the second largest in the area, after Ben Gurion International Airport. The airport is named after Dov Hoz, one of the pioneers of Jewish aviation. The airport will close at some point in the future after an agreement was struck repurposing land which houses it for luxury residential apartments. Commercial flights will move to Ben Gurion Airport near the city of Lod, southeast of Tel Aviv.The airport is a focus city for Arkia Israel Airlines and Israir Airlines.
In 1937, the mayor of Tel Aviv Israel Rokach asked the British mandate authorities for permission to create an airport in Palestine, promising to solve the transportation problem of Jews during the Arab revolt of 1936–39 when travelling around the region by ground was difficult and dangerous. Works began on a plot of land north of the Yarkon River, Tel Aviv in 1938 and once completed, the airport served regular flights to Haifa, with the option of flights to Beirut. In 1940, the airport's name was changed to Sde Dov, in memory of Dov Hoz, one of the pioneers of Jewish aviation.
In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the airport served as a base to the Israeli Air Force. It was a central base, home to 21 aircraft at the time. The first military flight was made in December, 1947, when Pinchas Ben Porat flew an RWD-13 to Beit Eshel to rescue an injured soldier.
Recent history and relocation plans
The early 1990s saw a rapid rise in land values in the Tel Aviv area following the massive immigration wave from the ex-Soviet Union and the rapid economic growth fueled by the peace prospects in 1993–1996 and subsequent hi-tech boom. This brought the issue of relocation back to light. Despite this, however, in 1997, Sde Dov was declared an International Airport for private flights. In the future, the Main Terminal, the aircraft parking aprons and the aircraft hangars will be transferred to an area near the Tel Baruch Beach which will enable the construction of new traffic routes to North Tel Aviv.
The issue remained unresolved until late 2006 when it was announced that the airport would be vacated to make way for residential redevelopment. It is unclear, however, when this will actually take place as the Tel Aviv municipality opposes closing the airport. Initially the plan was to relocate the entire airport (runway as well as terminal facilities) onto an artificial island to be built offshore
The airport today
Today, Sde Dov Airport mostly handles domestic flights within Israel, as well as light-aircraft activity and limited international flights, mostly to nearby Cyprus. The airport has two terminals. The IAF still takes up about 40% of overall movements (take-offs and landings), and uses the airport as a base for some of its operations, as well as a convenient hub for military and government passenger traffic. Due to its location in the centre of Israel, air-force and civilian pilots alike cross the airspace controlled by Sde Dov's air traffic control tower from north to south and vice versa in order to reach their destination, without landing at Sde Dov. This increases significantly the air traffic density above and around the airport, and efforts have been made to keep "crossing traffic" away from the approach and departure patterns in order to minimise their effect on air traffic safety at Sde Dov. The airport has seven check-in desks and 45 aircraft stands.