TEL AVIV — The governments of Canada and Israel have strengthened travel relations between the two countries with an expanded air transport agreement that will allow airlines like Air Canada and Air Transat to increase services.
The news was announced by the Honourable Israel Katz, Israel’s Minister of Transport and Intelligence, and the Honourable Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport, who recently travelled to Israel to hold key meetings with Canadian business leaders established in Israel.
With this newly expanded agreement, designated airlines will be permitted to operate up to 19 passenger flights per week (up from 12). The new rights under the agreement are available for use by airlines immediately.
“The expanded air transport agreement between Canada and Israel is a positive development for air transport relations between our countries. We are pleased to expand this relationship with additional flexibility for airlines to serve this growing market,” said Garneau. “By making the movement of goods and people faster and easier, this expanded agreement will continue to facilitate trade and investment between Canada and Israel and help our businesses grow and succeed.”
On Israel’s long-standing relationship with Canada, Katz said: “Canada is a true friend of the State of Israel and we are grateful for their deep support. The expanded agreement with Canada is another step in the liberalization policy that the Israeli Ministry of Transportation is leading in the aviation sector, and it opens additional possibilities to Israeli airlines for cooperation agreements with other foreign carriers in Europe and North America.”
Katz also noted that the implementation of the expanded agreement is expected to lead to an improvement in flight service, an increase in the level of competition among airlines, as well as a drop in airfares and an increase in passenger and cargo traffic to Israel.
As Canada’s largest international airline, Air Canada welcomed the news, saying that under the revised agreement it will look to further expand its services between Canada and Israel.
“Air Canada welcomes the expansion of the Canada-Israel air transport agreement as it will allow us to enhance our network and further advance our successful international expansion strategy. We look forward to increasing our services to Tel Aviv, which currently comprise of daily nonstop service from Toronto and seasonal nonstop flights from Montreal. We thank the Canadian government and congratulate it on its success negotiating this new agreement, which will enable us to offer more travel options to our customers,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.
The airline has operated flights between Canada and Israel since 1995. In addition to its nonstop Toronto-Tel Aviv year-round daily service, Air Canada launched seasonal, nonstop service between Montreal and Tel Aviv in June 2017 that resumes in May. It plans to increase the Montreal route to three-times weekly this summer, up from twice weekly last year.
Air Transat, a relatively new player in the Middle East market, made its first foray into the region in summer 2017 with direct flights between Montreal and Tel Aviv. Building on that success, it will offer three direct flights per week out of Montreal this summer, along with service from Toronto supported by connecting flights. The new program launches May 23.
“We congratulate the federal government for reaching an expanded air transport capacity arrangement with Israel,” said Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transat. “This deal will open up new development and growth possibilities for Canadian-based international carriers such as Air Transat.”
The original Canada-Israel Air Transport Agreement was signed in 2015, and was reached under Canada’s Blue Sky Policy, which encourages long-term, sustainable competition and the development of international air services. Under this policy, the Government of Canada has concluded new or expanded air transport agreements covering more than 100 countries.