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Unfriendly Skies

Binyamin Rose

Both El Al Airlines and the Israeli government entered a new era after the Israeli cabinet approved an Open Skies agreement with the European Union. El Al responded with a two-day strike, stranding 15,000 passengers worldwide. The strike ended when the government agreed to fund almost all El Al’s considerable security expenses. In the long run, the Open Skies agreement is expected to result in lower airfares, which is good news for travelers. But can El Al remain viable in the rarefied air of deregulati

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

old man in airport1 Why do countries sign Open Skies agreements?

Open Skies agreements are initiated when two countries want to expand their tourism and commercial relations and believe that goal will be served by offering unfettered access to each other’s airports.

2 Who was the first to sign on?

Between 1987 and 1993, the states that comprise the European Union fully deregulated air travel, allowing airlines to operate any route within the EU without price or capacity restrictions.Americasigned its first Open Skies agreement with theNetherlandsin 1992, and currently has more than 100 Open Skies partners worldwide, includingIran. TheUSandIsraelsigned an Open Skies agreement in 2010 and implemented it in March 2011.

3. How did air travel differ before Open Skies?

It was mainly controlled by governments through bilateral air service agreements (ASAs). Unlike Open Skies agreements, which allow market forces to determine routes, fares, and schedules, government regulators controlled every aspect of air travel, from fares and routes to frequency and seating capacity. Passengers had far fewer choices of destinations and flight schedules, and prices were high. 


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