I was pleased to hear recently that talks on the possibility of a joint Israeli – Jordanian airport could be on again. This shared Middle Eastern airport concept has been talked about for some time. Various options have been put forward including converting Jordan’s existing King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba, which lies on the border, into a joint operation.
As a traveller, Jordan is a country close to my heart. Before attending university, I spent a year in Amman (1989-90) working in a childrens’ home. Last New Year, I thrilled to go back to Jordan for a family holiday. I find the Jordanian people so full of warmth and, for such a small country, it has a huge variety of landscapes, and so many incredible attractions to offer, including Petra, The Dead Sea and the spectacular Wadi Rum desert.
It would be fantastic to see a joint airport project helping to stimulate the peace process in the Middle East. Airports are such an important part of the tourism and business infrastructure of any country. If both Israel and Jordan invested in a joint airport, they would then each have a vested interest in its success.
As existing jointly-owned airports show, it’s possible to have two terminal buildings or a shared one which handles customers from more than one country and has separate road exits from the terminal.
Perhaps this could also be a solution for Spain and the UK to make peace on Gibraltar? Hand the airport and its land over to a joint European organisation to run a shared airport.
Here are other jointly-owned airports already in operation elsewhere in the world:
EuroAirport (let’s call it that for short!) is operated jointly by France and Switzerland, but also has German advisers on its operational board as it also situated just 4km from the German border town of Freiburg.
The airport site is entirely on French soil but the airport building is separated into two sections – Swiss and French – and the Swiss customs area is connected to Basel by a border road. The airport even has three IATA codes for each of the three countries and residents are given access to the airport without any customs or border restrictions. Read more about EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg.
Geneva International Airport
Another collaboration between the Swiss and the French is seen at Geneva. The airport is actually situated in Switzerland, but just a few metres from the border with France and it’s northern limit runs along the border. So there are both Swiss and French sectors within the airport and it can be accessed from both countries.
French passengers do not have to go through Swiss customs and immigration controls if they remain in the French sector. Read more about Geneva International Airport.
USA/CANADIAN SHARED AIRPORTS
There are four small airports in the USA and Canada which cross the border of the two countries and have some joint operations:
1) Avey Field State Airport
This privately owned airport is situated between Washington and British Columbia. While it’s mostly on US soil, several hundred feet of its north-south runway extends into Canada. Passengers have access to both Canadian and US customs at the airport.
2) Coronach/Scobey International Airport
Located between Saskatchewan and Montana, the east-west runway at the Coronach/Scobey International Airport is sited directly on the US-Canadian border and is jointly owned by both governments. Customs may be cleared on either side of the border, however customs officials must be notified at least two hours prior to landing, and landings are only allowed during the border crossing’s normal hours of operations. In the US, this airport is also known by the names Scobey Border Station Airport and East Poplar International Airport.
3) Del Bonita/Whetstone International Airport
Also known as the Whetstone International Airport, this airport also has an east-west runway that’s situated exactly on the border between Alberta and Montana. While the airport is owned by the US State of Montana and operated by the Montana Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division, it is still classified as an airport of entry by Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency.
4) Piney Pinecreek Border Airport
Located in Manitoba and Minnesota, this airport was once located entirely within the United States until the owners wanted to extend the runway. Unable to extend it south due to a nearby road, the owners made arrangements with the Canadian and Manitoba authorities to extend the runway north, across the border. This northwest/southeast oriented runway now straddles the border and has two ramps; one in Canada and one in the US. The airport is jointly owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the local government of Piney, Manitoba.