Iran-Europe-US flights to resume as airline deals take off

Iran-Europe-US flights to resume as airline deals take off
European flights to Iran are set to be resumed after nearly five years, an Iranian newspaper reports on Thursday as the country emerges from sanctions and international isolation.
2 min read
28 January, 2016
The years of sanctions left Iran with outdated and unsafe aircrafts [Getty]
Iran may be the next destination for European tourists looking for a holiday with a difference, with airlines set to reinstate flights to Tehran after a five-year hiatus, the state-owned Iran Daily reported on Thursday.

Iran is also expected to close a deal to purchase 114 aircraft from European consortium Airbus in Paris on Thursday, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani continues his tour of Western countries.

The moves follow the nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran which saw sanctions on Iran lifted. The aviation manoeuvres are being taken as further signs of the thaw in once-hostile relations between Iran and Western governments.

Both Air France and Dutch flagship KLM have announced they are ready to resume flights to Iran, deputy head of Iran's civil aviation authority, Mohammad Khodakarami, said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, officials from British Airways visited the Iranian capital on Tuesday to discuss resuming direct flights.

"We are very interested in flying to Tehran and we are hopeful that it will form part of British Airway's network in the very near future," said Willie Walsh, chief executive of the UK's national carrier.

"We are actively looking at it as a destination," he added.

Many routes between Europe and Iran were stopped in 2012 when the Western powers imposed sanctions on Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

Iran's national carrier, Iran Air, has just three weekly flights to London and two each to Paris and Amsterdam.

The years of sanctions have also saddled Iran with outdated aircraft, leading Tehran to express interest in buying plane from US manufacturer Boeing.

US-Iran flights

It's not only Europe that's warming to the idea of exploring the Islamic Republic. Direct flights between Iran and the US are also on the agenda - for the first time in 36 years.

Direct flights stopped between the two countries when Washington broke relations with Tehran in 1979 following the Iranian revolution which saw its CIA-installed monarchy overthrown.

"Iran Civil Aviation Organisation is conducting talks on direct flight between Iran and the US," state news agency IRNA quoted Iran Air chairman Farhad Parvaresh as saying.

"Daily flights to New York used to take place before the Islamic revolution, and they will hopefully be resumed in the near future."

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