The memorandum of understanding is part of negotiations between Israel and the European Union on an "open skies" agreement
Israel's transport ministry issued a statement last Wednesday informing that Israel and the European Union had signed a preliminary agreement that would greatly ease restrictions on air travel between Israel and European states,.
The memorandum of understanding is part of negotiations between Israel and the European Union on an "open skies" agreement.
Israeli Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, who met the EU ambassador to Israel and a European aviation delegation last Wednesday, said the memorandum provided far more flexibility than existing bilateral agreements and would allow international airlines and their subsidiaries to compete on routes to Israel.
"We are talking about Israeli consent to make changes in current aviation agreements with European states which will allow European carriers to fly to Israel under the auspices of current bilateral agreements," Mofaz said.
Last week, Israel's government agreed to pay 80% of Israeli flag carrier El Al's security costs in return for dropping its exclusivity on routes. El Al's security costs are estimated at USD$100 million a year.
That deal will allow rival Israeli carriers Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. & Arkia Israeli Airlinesto expand their routes to destinations in Europe, the Far East, and North America.
Israir said last week that it had made plans to expand its U.S. services and run regular lines not only to New York but also to Miami and Las Vegas.