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Monday, June 10, 2013

Israel and EU sign open skies agreement

Israel and the European Union have signed an open skies agreement which, when it finally comes into effect in 2018, will allow European airlines to fly from anywhere in Europe to Israel and allow Israeli airlines to fly anywhere in Europe.
Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President responsible for mobility and  transport, said: "Israel is a key partner for the EU and today's agreement is very important for further strengthening the overall economic, trade and tourism relations between Israel and the EU. We expect to see more direct flights to and from Israel, lower prices, more jobs and economic benefits on both sides."
When the agreement comes into effect in 2018, EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights to Israel from anywhere in the EU, and Israeli carries will be able to operate flights to airports throughout the EU.
"The EU-Israel air transport market will be opened gradually over the next five years so that by 2018, the market will be fully open with no restrictions on the number of flights," the EU statement said.
The agreement is expected to encourage greater direct connections, which in turn could drive down prices.  Under the agreement, according to the EU statement, Israel will "implement regulatory requirements and standards equivalent to EU aviation rules in areas such as aviation safety, environment, consumer protection, including passenger rights, air traffic management, economic regulation, competition issues and social aspects."
The brief Israeli airline strike over the deal in late April ended when the Finance Ministry agreed to increase the amount it pays in airline security costs from 70 to 97.5 percent.
I assume that 97.5% is effective immediately, and is not being phased in over five years.

This is also another slap in the face to the BDS'ers (although maybe not because it means they can get here to protest more cheaply).

What could go wrong?

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