Thursday, March 22, 2012
The European Union and Israel have completed a comprehensive aviation agreement that will replace the current bilateral air services agreements between Israel and EU Member States. See Press Release, European Commission, EU-Israel Aviation Agreement: Israel Joins Europe in Aviation, March 22, 2012 (available here). The agreement calls for the gradual opening of markets among EU Member States and Israel so that by 2017 all EU airlines will be able to fly to Israel directly from any point within the EU, Israeli carriers will be able to fly to any airport within the EU, and there will be no restrictions on frequency. Israel will be required to bring its safety, air traffic management, environmental and consumer protection regulations in line with EU standards. The agreement is part of a broader effort by the EU to create a Common Aviation Area with States that are not part of the EU. Comments from Israeli officials last month raised concerns that Israeli carriers and unions might derail an agreement, but those fears appear to have been overblown. See Aviation Law Prof Blog, Feb. 27, 2012 (available here).