Aviation Industry to Receive Antitrust Supervision for First Time

Despite all the talk about Open Skies, the real revolution in Israeli aviation is coming from a very different direction: Antitrust Commissioner Ronit Kan is preparing to place the industry under antitrust supervision for the first time.

The Antitrust Authority published a draft version of the new rules yesterday after a long, detailed process of examining the issue. Until now the aviation sector was exempt from antitrust rules, though a recent change in the law gave the commissioner power to change that, and Kan has acted on the matter quickly.

While not all agreements between air carriers will be required to receive antitrust approval, certain types of deals will need to be examined, including code-sharing agreements between Israeli and foreign airlines.

The intention is to reduce the possibility of forming cartels, increase competition and lower ticket prices. "After the draft [regulations] take effect, we will see more significant competition. An even more far-reaching step is needed than the Transportation Ministry's Open Skies policy," said Kan.

The public, airlines and anyone else who wants can comment on the document.