Lufthansa, Austrian and Turkish airlines continue flying to Tehran

August 25, 2018 - 21:50

TEHRAN – Lufthansa, Austrian and Turkish airlines along with several other international carriers have no plan yet to halt flying to Iran as news broke that three European airliners are to suspend services to the country.

A spokesperson for Lufthansa has recently announced the German airline and its partner, Austrian Airlines, will continue to fly to Tehran “until further notice”, sources said on Thursday.

Turkish carriers will stick to their Iran servers even enjoying benefit from stopping flights by some Western airliners, Daily Sabah reported on Friday.

“Turkish carriers are expected to increase passenger numbers from Iran by 20 percent as of September,” the Turkish daily said.

Experts say the halt could be more advantages to Iran Air and private Iranian airliners if the country succeeds to draw further visitors from Europe.

British Airways said its last outbound flight from London to Tehran would be on September 22 and the last inbound flight from the Iranian capital would be on September 23. In a Separate statement, Air France said that it would suspend all its flights to the Islamic Republic on September 18.

The flagship airlines did not put the blame on the return of U.S. sanctions directly for their decisions but said that the route is “not commercially viable.”

Last month, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, a sister airline of Air France, also publicized that it would stop flights to Tehran due to “negative results and financial outlook.”

In response to the halt, Tehran’s ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad, has called the British Airways decision as “regrettable.”

“Considering the high demand ... the decision by the airliner is regrettable.”

Back in June, Mohammad Moheb-khodaei, a senior Iranian tourism official, said:  “The number of travelers from European countries cut by 24 percent in the first three months of the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21) from a year earlier.”

Business and leisure travel to Iran picked up in the wake of a 2015 Iran nuclear deal aka Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that saw some sanctions relaxed in return for Tehran agreeing to curb its nuclear program.

British Airways resumed direct flights to and from the Iranian capital in September 2016 after four years. Paris-Tehran services were resumed by Air France in January 2016 while KLM resumed flights between Amsterdam and Tehran in October 2016 following a three-year hiatus.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out from the JCPOA in May, re-imposing new sanctions on Iran’s economy. The first batch of the sanctions came into effect earlier this month while the second is expected to follow in November.


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