René Trabelsi announced in November 2019 that the “open skies” contract would be signed by the end of February 2020 at the latest. He said the agreement would allow the national airline Tunisair to improve the quality of its services. At the end of a hearing of the Committee of Tunisians Abroad in the House of People`s Representatives (HPR) in the presence of Tunisair CEO Elyes Mnakbi, Trabelsi added that “Tunisia is ready for this opening and that the national company has no problem with it”. Studies have shown that the open skies promote growth of between 2 and 3% of GDP, job creation and visibility of the Tunisian destination, especially since some European countries do not know Tunisia. “We are not too afraid of the `open skies` if the European Union agrees to value us, as in 1995, for the Tunisian manufacturing industry when the free trade agreement on industrial products was concluded,” said Mr Mnakbi. “The ratification and signing procedures are currently under way on both sides,” EU sources told The Arab Weekly, “but as the procedure on the EU side is quite long, it has been agreed to apply the agreement on an interim basis as soon as Tunisia`s ratification is completed.” Modernizing the company`s equipment and aircraft, which require frequent inspections, would help to address many companies that care. He said the airline planned to introduce new routes in Africa and possibly New York before the “open skies” agreement. This agreement applies to all Tunisian airports open to international traffic, with the exception of Von Tunis-Carthage, which will not be affected for 5 years in order to protect the national airline Tunisair. Fearing competition, Tunisair`s chief executive seems more concerned about the deal, which he says will “cause serious damage” and “pose a danger to Tunisair.” (TAP) – The European Union could sign the “open skies” agreement with Tunisia in March 2020, Acting Transport Minister René Trabelsi said Monday in a statement to TAP. Once implemented, the “open skies” would lift restrictions on direct flights between the EU and Tunisian airports, with the exception of Tunis-Carthage, where restrictions would be lifted at the end of a five-year transitional period.
The open skies consist of the opening of Tunisian airspace and national airports to the planes of the various European airlines at first. In a second phase, aircraft from other international airlines will be affected by this agreement. According to the EU delegation in Tunisia, the “open skies” agreement is expected to draw an additional 800,000 passengers over a five-year period between the continent and Tunisia, an increase of 13% per year. A representative of the Tunisian transport ministry said he was not in a position to set a timetable for ratification of the agreement.