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Yasser Arafat International Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yasser Arafat International Airport
مطار ياسر عرفات الدولي
Gaza Airport 5.jpg
Airport typeDefunct
OperatorState of Palestine
LocationGaza Strip
Opened24 November 1998 (1998-11-24)
ClosedFebruary 2000 (2000-02)
Elevation AMSL98 m / 320 ft
Coordinates31°14′47″N 34°16′34″E / 31.24639°N 34.27611°E / 31.24639; 34.27611
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 3,076 10,091 Asphalt (severely damaged)

Yasser Arafat International Airport (Arabic: مطار ياسر عرفات الدوليMaṭār Yāsir 'Arafāt ad-Dawli), formerly Gaza International Airport and Dahaniya International Airport, is located in the Gaza Strip, between Rafah and Dahaniya, close to the Egyptian border. The facility opened on 24 November 1998,[1] and ceased operation on 8 October 2000, during the Second Intifada.[2][3] Israel bombed the radar station and control tower on 4 December 2001 and bulldozers cut the runway on 10 January 2002, rendering the airport inoperable.

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The airport is owned, and was operated, by the Palestinian Authority. It was able to handle 700,000 passengers per year and operated 24 hours per day, 364 days a year. The total area of the airport is 235 hectares (2.35 km2).[4] The airport was the home airport for Palestinian Airlines until the airport was closed.

The construction of the airport was provided for in the Oslo II Agreement of 1995. It was built with funding from Japan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Germany. It was designed by Moroccan architects (modeled after Casablanca airport) and engineers funded by Morocco's King Hassan II. The total cost was $86 million and it was built by Usama Hassan Elkhoudary (El-Khoudary for engineering and contracting). After a year of construction, it opened on 24 November 1998; attendees at the opening ceremony included Yasser Arafat and US President Bill Clinton. At the time, the opening of the airport was described as evidence of progress toward Palestinian statehood.[5] The airport got international airport codes (IATA: GZA, ICAO: LVGZ). The airport was twinned with Mohammed V International Airport, in Casablanca, Morocco. The presence of Israelis was limited to monitoring passports and bags.[6]

The airport closed after the radar station and control tower were destroyed by the Israeli Air Force on 4 December 2001, after the start of the Second Intifada, and bulldozers cut the runway on 10 January 2002.[7][8][9] Its destruction left Gush Katif Airport as the only serviceable runway in Gaza, until it was abandoned in 2004. The closest public airports in the area are Ben Gurion Airport in Israel and El Arish Airport in Egypt. From 2001 to 2006, airport staff still manned the ticket counters and baggage areas,[9] although no aircraft flew into or out of the airport during that period.

In March 2002, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) strongly condemned Israel for the attack on the airport, which it deemed a violation of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation (Montreal Convention, 1971). The ICAO also urged Israel to take measures to restore the facility to allow its reopening.[7]

The Agreement on Movement and Access, signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 15 November 2005, provided: "The parties agreed on the importance of the [Yasser Arafat International] airport. Discussions will continue on the issues of security arrangements, construction and operation."[10] The Agreement became moot after Hamas formed the Government in the Palestinian Authority on 29 March 2006, and sanctions against the PA under Hamas were imposed and all dialogue with the Hamas government ceased. The sanctions were strengthened in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Since March 2006, no discussions have taken place between Israel and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Since its closure, thieves have stripped the site of valuable equipment including radars.[6]



  1. ^ A Political Chronology of the Middle East. Europa Publications. 2006. p. 186.
  2. ^ "Gisha" (PDF).
  3. ^ Ruwantissa Abeyratne (2015). Aviation and International Cooperation: Human and Public Policy Issues. Springer. p. 85.
  4. ^ Global Security (2009). Gaza International Airport. Retrieved 2009-10-08 from
  5. ^ Palestinians cheer airport as first step to statehood, Associated Press, 25 November 1998.
  6. ^ a b 20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes
  7. ^ a b ICAO Council adopts resolution strongly condemning the destruction of Gaza International Airport Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. ICAO, 13 March 2002. On UNISPAL:
  8. ^ Grounded in Gaza, but hoping to fly again, NBC News, 19 May 2005
  9. ^ a b Years of delays at Gaza airport, Alan Johnston, BBC News, 15 April 2005
  10. ^ Agreed documents by Israel and Palestinians on Movement and Access from and to Gaza Archived 15 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine. "Agreement on Movement and Access" and "Agreed Principles for Rafah Crossing", 15 November 2005
This page was last edited on 4 May 2021, at 21:47
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