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Israeli Cabinet approves open skies agreement; Israeli carriers launch industrial action

22-Apr-2013 10:27 AM

Israel's Government Cabinet approved (21-Apr-2013) an open skies agreement with the EU on 21-Apr-2013. According to local sources, including Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and Port2Port, Histadrut Labor Federation earlier called for the Government to discuss the agreement with airlines. In response to the agreement, Israeli airline workers launched industrial action, including El Al, Arkia Airlines and Israir. Histadrut said the Israeli Ministry of Transport stated there is a real danger of the collapse of Israeli carriers if the agreement goes ahead. Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to consider the potential negative consequences of the open skies agreement with the EU and threatened to cancel all services in and out of Israel from 23-Apr-2013. Histadrut said the strikes will continue unless the Israeli Treasury and Israeli Finance Ministry agree to alter the agreement in negotiations. Federation of Transport Workers Union chairman Avi Edri also joined the call for the agreement to be altered. Mr Netanyahu, Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, and Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid supported the agreement stating it would reduce the cost of air travel and increase competition. [more - original PR Hebrew]