Europe and Israel Seal Open Skies Deal
Israel and the European Union have concluded an aviation agreement that is aimed at reducing air fares to and from Israel, the EU said. The head of the Israel Civil Aviation Authority, Giora Rom, signed the deal after three days of negotiations with EU representatives.
The two sides have been discussing such a deal since the end of 2008. It will have to be approved by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who has said in the past that he wants to make sure any open-skies arrangement with Europe provides adequate protections for Israeli airlines. The agreement will take effect on April 1, 2013.
The deal will be phased in over a five-year period, with each new phase going into effect in late March.
The new agreement will replace existing bilateral agreements between Israel and each EU nation specifying which airlines are allowed to fly to which destinations, as well as the frequency of flights.
A set number of weekly flights to certain destinations will be added every year. At the end of the five-year period there will be full competition on all routes between Israel and the EU, and every airline from the EU or Israel will be allowed to fly to any destination within the region as many times as it wants. The agreement differentiate between flights that terminate in Israel or the EU and that continue on to a final destination.
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