On April 21, 2013, Israel ratified the Open Skies Agreement with the European Union. This agreement aims to boost airline traffic to and from Europe. The agreement was ratified at the weekly Cabinet meeting and is also known as the European-Mediterranean Sea ("Open Skies") Aviation Agreement between the State of Israel and the EU and its Member States.
This ratification comes after a draft comprehensive aviation agreement between the European Union and Israel was finalized during negotiations that were held in Tel Aviv on March 22, 2012. The European Union and Israel signed the comprehensive agreement on July 30, 2012.
The agreement will gradually open up and integrate the respective markets, strengthen cooperation and offer new opportunities for industry, including airlines and consumers. The agreement enables all European airlines to operate direct flights to Israel from anywhere in the European Union and Israeli carriers to operate flights to airports throughout the European Union. The EU-Israel air transport market will be opened gradually and by the summer of 2017, the market will be fully open with no restrictions on the number of weekly flights.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The goal of the reform that we approved today is to lower the prices of flights to and from Israel and to increase incoming tourism. I commend Finance Minister Lapid and Transportation Minister Katz for working to pass this reform, which has been discussed for many years. We will continue to advance reforms to lower the cost of living and increase the efficiency of services to Israeli citizens".