Iran plans to incentivize foreign airlines to use its airspace

June 20, 2020 - 17:36

TEHRAN – Iran plans to offer foreign airlines with incentive packages for encouraging them to use its airspace, Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company’s official Nasser Aqai said, IRNA reported on Saturday.

These packages could encourage the airlines to use Iran’s airspace instead of rival countries such as Iraq, he added.

However, Iran wouldn’t reduce the tariffs for the airlines, but discounts and incentives will be considered for the eight first airlines that use its airspace the most, he explained.

He also noted that the travel industry has been disrupted worldwide due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which lead to a significant reduction in flights around the world and Iran.

Passenger traffic at Iranian airports was plunged by 80 percent in the first month of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 20) in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, IRNA reported in May.

The pandemic also resulted in a decrease of 70 percent and 79 percent respectively in the number of flights and cargo transport, the report added.

Moreover, European airlines stopped using Iranian airspace after the Islamic Republic accidentally downed a Ukrainian jetliner amid an exchange of hostilities with U.S. forces in the Iraqi soil on January 3.

However, three weeks later the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved that European airlines can return to parts of Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

Despite propaganda over security issues in the region, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and several other Persian Gulf airlines continued using Iranian airspace at the time.

On January 3, a U.S. drone strike assassinated top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and in an act of retaliation, Iran fired missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq on January 8. The Ukrainian airliner was accidentally shot down by Iran’s air defense as it was on high alert in the tense aftermath.

Iran’s tourism minister on January 12 said that the country’s tourism industry has suffered a setback but it will certainly return to “normal”, in remarks referring to the tragic crash. Ali-Asghar Mounesan said, “These events are a major blow to tourism, but we will leave it behind by the means of new plans and we will definitely return to normal.”

ABU/MG
 

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