Israel formally signed an “Open Skies” agreement with the European Union on Monday, expanding the number of flights and destinations serviced by Israeli airlines and their European partners.

The move, which was negotiated for several years and was agreed upon in March, is expected to increase tourism to Israel and lower prices for consumers — although it is also forecast to cut earnings for Israeli carriers.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said the agreement would ultimately benefit Israeli airlines, adding, “I believe in Israeli airlines managers’ abilities to lead their companies to great success even in an open market situation, which is beneficial for the market as a whole.”

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov cheered the signing of the agreement, calling it “an essential move that will jumpstart tourism to Israel by hundreds of thousands of tourists and will bring about a decrease in fares for the Israeli consumer as well.”