Jordan’s objection to Ramon Airport suspended int’l flights — minister

Gov’t plans JD150m tender to develop King Hussein Bridge

Ramon Eilat
(File photo: AFP)
AMMAN — Minister of Transport Wajih Azaizeh said Wednesday that Jordan’s stance on Israel’s Ramon Airport—by submitting an official objection to its operation with the International Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2019—resulted in the suspension of international flights operating from that airport. It was not clear how his statement ties into the fact that Israel had started last week operating charter flights to and from the airport and several regional destinations. The flights serve West Bank Palestinians and have been criticized by the Palestinian Authority and Jordanian officials.اضافة اعلان

There was no official reaction from Israeli authorities to Azaizeh’s statement.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs stressed, in previous statements, that the establishment of the airport would lead to a violation of Jordanian airspace, as well as a violation of international law, especially Article 1 of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944, and the standards of the ICAO.

Minister of Interior Mazen Al-Faraya said Wednesday that the government began a few days ago to make improvements to the process of crossing the King Hussein Bridge by increasing the number of staff working at the border crossing and facilitating some administrative procedures.

Infrastructure upgrades
Azaizeh and Faraya held a meeting with Palestinian Minister of Transport and Communications Assem Salem on Wednesday to discuss a number of measures related to easing travel through the King Hussein Bridge especially procedures for luggage handling and processing travelers.

The government on Wednesday said it was accelerating the floating of a tender valued at JD150 million to upgrade infrastructure at the King Hussein Bridge border crossing, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Azaizeh said, following his meeting with his Palestinian counterpart and Interior Minister Faraya, that Jordan is committed to streamlining transport procedures between the border crossing and Queen Alia International Airport.

“The new Israeli airport is of no importance to the Palestinians, government or people. Rather, their Jordanian and Arab (relation) is the only thing that matters,” Salem was quoted by Petra as saying.

The head of the Tourist Guides Association, Hani Masadeh, told Jordan News that the announcement of the JD150 million tender was a “late awakening”.

He added that the suspension of flights from Ramon would not have a direct effect on tourism in Jordan. There is much work to be done by the Jordan Tourism Board, the Ministry of Tourism, and tourist operators, he added, stressing the need to develop infrastructure and services for tourist facilities and increase the capacity of hotels in order to compete.

Both the Jordan Tourism Board and Ministry of Tourism declined to comment, citing the “political” nature of the transport minister’s statement.

Meanwhile, MP Yenal Fraihat asked Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh, through the Lower House Permanent Secretariat, for details regarding Ramon Airport and if the government had recently contacted the Israeli authorities, and if it can provide him with any related official documents.

He also asked why the government has failed to file a complaint with international bodies to stop the construction of Ramon Airport, and whether the establishment of the airport violates the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty.

He told Jordan News that “I wanted to say that there are Israeli violations and that the Jordanian government had failed to deal with the Ramon issue and did not respond by building the Jordan Valley Airport as was intended.”

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