Israel defers signing of open skies agreement with EU

The Prime Minister's Office says the decision is due to the need to avoid making important decisions decision during the election period.

On the instructions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it has been decided that Israel will not sign the final open skies agreement with the EU on December 20 as scheduled, because of the election period in Israel. The decision not to sign the final agreement at this time is because of the need to refrain from important decisions in the run-up to an election, in accordance with principles of good governance.

An open skies agreement with the EU was signed in late July with the goal of opening Israel's aviation industry to greater competition, resulting in lower prices, among other things.

After the initial signing of the open skies agreement, the Ministry of Transport believed that it would gradually come into effect over five years, beginning in a few months, in order to give Israeli carriers time to prepare for the new competitive structure in the industry.

Under the agreement, seven weekly frequencies will be added to each European destination each year. At a limited number of European airports with heavy traffic and which are hubs for follow-on flights, three new weekly frequencies will be added each year.

This will provide some protection for Israeli carriers during the adaptation period. In addition, with the start of the agreement's implementation, the exemption granted to the aviation industry in the Antitrust Law will be expanded to eliminate the need to submit code-sharing agreements between Israeli and foreign carriers for approval in advance by the Antitrust Authority in all markets where open skies regulations apply.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 13, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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