Israel and European Union Finalize Open Skies Agreement

Israel and the European Union have finalized an Open-Skies deal after three years of negotiations, although it still needs the approval of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, ETurboNews is reporting.

The backlash to the open-skies agreement with Europe is building: Israel's airlines are ramping up their criticism of the competition-creating deal, while travel industry sources are lobbying to see the agreement through. The signatories included Israel Hotel Association Chairman Ami Federmann and Israel Incoming Tour Operator Association chairman Shmuel Marom. Other signatories include the chairmen of the car rental association, the tour guides association and the restaurants association.

The deal, which would be implemented over the course of five years between 2013 and 2018, would eventually allow Israeli and European airlines to compete freely over flights to and from each others' home countries.