Israel Joins European Air Navigation Group

A view of Ben Gurion International Airport from the control tower. (Flash90)

Israel’s flag for the first time was raised this week outside the headquarters of the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation – also known as Eurocontrol – eight months after Israel began working with the organization, and after all 41 member countries gave their blessing. The flag-raising completed the years of arduous negotiations Israel conducted in order to join the group, which required a unanimous acceptance process. Besides Morocco, Israel is the only non-European country to be accepted to the group.

Eurocontrol is a pan-European organization working to achieve safe and seamless air traffic management across Europe. The group works with entities (airlines, airports and officials) in member countries to streamline entry and exit procedures, regulate airspace use, assist with safety technologies and procedures, and promote cooperation between member nations.

It’s that latter point that excites Transport Minister Yisrael Katz the most. “The significance of Israel’s entry into this organization will provide us with numerous benefits,” said Katz. “We will be able to better manage and integrate Israeli air traffic with that in Europe.

“This is one of the most important agreements ever signed between Israel and the European Union, and will for the first time allow Israel to enjoy the many benefits given to Eurocontrol members, including advanced planning and cooperation of air traffic in a safe and efficient manner, better management of airline data, and a direct connection to the control towers in European airspace,” added Katz.