JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and the European Union signed an agreement that will allow European airlines to increase their flights to Israel.
Yisrael Katz, Israel’s transportation minister, signed the open skies agreement on Monday in Luxembourg in the presence of the 27 EU transportation ministers.
The agreement will go into effect gradually over five years, at which point there will be no barriers for flights between Israel and Europe.
It was signed by the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority and the European Commission last July following three years of negotiations.
The workers of three Israeli airlines went on strike for two days in April to protest the deal, saying it would mean thousands of layoffs by the airlines.
The strike ended when the Israeli ministry agreed to fund 97.5 percent of El Al airline’s security costs, up from 70 percent, to keep the domestic carrier competitive under the agreement. The airlines also agreed to undergo a streamlining process in order to further cut costs.