11,000 homes approved for site of Jerusalem's former airport

Jerusalem's Atarot neighborhood Photo: Architect Yuval Kadmon

The Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee has approved a plan for 11,000 new homes on the site of the former Atarot airport in northeast Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee has approved a plan for 11,000 new homes on the site of the former Atarot airport in northeast Jerusalem. The plan will now go before the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee.

The area covers 310.75 acres, which will also have commercial and office space and hotels as well as public buildings and open spaces. The historic airport terminal building will be preserved. The plan has been promoted by the Ministry of Construction and Housing and designed by architect Yuval Kadmon.

The landing strip at Atarot near Kalandia was built by the British in the 1920s because of its proximity to Jerusalem, replacing the previous airport in Talpiot, which had a more problematic topographical terrain and was fast developing as a Jewish residential neighborhood. In the 1930s the landing strip developed into an airport for commercial aircraft serving Jerusalem.

The runway was damaged during the War of Independence, and under Jordanian control it became Jerusalem International Airport, used by 15 international airlines, mainly from Arab countries. SAS flew there from Arab countries. The airport also served the Jordanian Air Force and cargo planes carrying Jordanian exports and imports. Twice as many passengers passed through the airport than Amman airport.

After the Six Day Way in 1967, the Israeli government annexed the airport as part of the Jerusalem Municipality and Atarot was developed as Jerusalem's airport. Control of the airport was transferred to the Israel Airports Authority. Arkia used the airport for domestic flights.

In 1972 the Israeli government invested in renovating the airport so that it could serve as an international airport but the plan floundered due to international opposition. After the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, the airport was closed because it was surrounded by densely populated Arab neighborhoods.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion welcomed approval of the new housing plan. "This is another plan among the many plans that I am leading and promoting to reduce social gaps and create housing solutions for young people from all populations. This is the proper way to improve the quality of life of the residents.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 25, 2021.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.

Jerusalem's Atarot neighborhood Photo: Architect Yuval Kadmon
Jerusalem's Atarot neighborhood Photo: Architect Yuval Kadmon
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