RAMON, Israel - The long-awaited new international airport in the south of Israel opened on Monday.
Costing $455 million, the airport has been designed to act as an alternative to Ben Gurion Airport.
It joins about a dozen airports operating across Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on hand for the opening, arriving on the first flight.
"Ramon airport, this is Arkia 683, we're very excited," he said as he touched down.
Initially Ramon Airport will handle only domestic flights, operated by Israeli carriers Arkia and Israir, however international flights will be in troduced at a later date..
The new airport is named after Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, and his son Asaf, an Israel Air Force pilot who was killed when his F-16 crashed in a training drill shortly after his graduation.
The new airport will process two million passenger movements a year initially, but is expected to increase this to 4.2 million by 2030.
Ramon is about eighteen kilometres (11 miles) from the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat and is close to the Jordan border.
Construction began in 2013 on the site of nearly 2,000 acres, and was originally expected to be completed by late 2017. However a number of variations have been implemented which have extended the construction period.
Pictured: Asaf Ramon (left) with father Ilan Ramon (right)