Israel - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on Israeli lawmakers to move forward quickly with urgent legislative work to bring Israel’s safety oversight in line with established global standards.
In December 2008 the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded Israel to Category 2 in its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA). The IASA program focuses on a country's ability to adhere to international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance established by the United Nation's technical agency for aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Category 2 indicates a deficiency. While in Category 2, no additional services from Israel to the US can be established. Currently some 25 countries are on the Category 2 list. Among those, countries with service to the US at the time of assessment include Bangladesh, Cote D’Ivoire Curacao, Ghana, Guyana, Indonesia, Israel, Montenegro, Nauru, Philippines, Serbia, Sint Maarten, and Ukraine.
“The government’s intention to sign an open skies agreement with the European Union makes Israel’s return to IASA Category 1 urgent,” said Thomas Windmuller, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Member and Government Relations in meetings with local airline representatives and Elyezer Shkedi, El AL’s CEO.
"Opening markets to competition is an important and positive step in developing the aviation market in Israel. But it is imperative that Israel’s carriers are able to compete on a level playing field. For Israel’s airlines, open skies while in IASA Category Two, is like being sent into the boxing ring with one hand tied behind their backs. We are approaching three and half years since Israel was downgraded to Category Two. During that time, Israel’s carriers have been at a competitive disadvantage in the US market. That disadvantage will grow with intensified competition from Europe. A sense of urgency is needed among Israeli lawmakers to close the gaps and put Israel’s aviation industry on an equal footing with its competitors,” said Windmuller.
IATA noted that the shortcomings identified by the FAA’s IASA audit can only be fixed by the Government of Israel. “Safety is our top priority. El Al, Arkia, Israir and CAL are IATA members. As such, they are on the registry of the IATA Operational Safety Audit showing that they have met the highest international standards of safety. However, Israeli carriers that are unable to compete on a level playing field so long as the Government of Israel fails to rectify the shortcomings identified in the IASA audit. Fixing the legislative shortcomings affecting safety oversight should be Israel's highest aviation priority today. And I am confident that, with the right political will and resolve, these issues can be closed in time to ensure that Israel’s carriers can meet the competitive challenges that open skies will bring," said Windmuller.
For more information, please contact:
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Notes for Editors:
- IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.
- More information on IASA, including a full list of Category 2 countries
- More information on IOSA registry
- You can follow us at http://twitter.com/iata2press for news specially catered for the media.