Gov't. Weakens El Al Monopoly

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) announced a new government policy that effectively divests El Al Airlines of a perceived exclusivity on air travel.

Initially, El Al will forego its monopoly on many popular destinations, while the government subsidizes security measures for other Israeli airlines.

According to the transportation minister, the subsidies will cost about $80 million annually.

"After months and months of deliberations, we have finally reached an agreement with El Al, canceling its exclusivity in the Israeli flight market," Mofaz said. "It's a true revolution for the local consumer," he said, adding that "we expect ticket prices to drop rapidly."

Gideon Siterman, chief executive for the Transportation Ministry, said the European Union is delighted with the far-reaching initiative and is negotiating new flight agreements with Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel's flagship airline issued a statement on the agreement.

"We expect the government to assist Israeli airlines to increase the number of direct-destination flights and to facilitate their communication with foreign authorities to ensure that competition is run on level ground."

Israeli travelers welcomed prospects for lower airfares in a more competitive market.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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