IranAir Backtracks On Europe Flight Suspension

IranAir has abruptly canceled its European flight suspension only three days after it began. The airline had been directed to do so by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but thanks to efforts by the airline CEO, it has now reopened the routes. Services will return to normal by the end of today.

IranAir will be resuming nearly all European routes. Photo: IranAir

What are the details?

Last Sunday, March 8th, IranAir was suspended from operating services between Iran and Europe for ‘unknown reasons’. However, it seems these reasons are no longer in place and that the government directive was canceled just three days later.

This is only thanks to the chief executive of IranAir, Touraj Zanganeh, meeting with his counterparts at the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the meetings, he requested that his airline be allowed to operate the lucrative routes to Europe.

Iran has not made it clear why there was a suspension in place. At first, it was believed that it was because of the coronavirus, a suspension many others are undertaking this week. The secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines, Asadani Samani, has said that the suspension was due to US sanctions and not the virus. Whatever the reason, airlines in Iran can be thankful that services can resume.

British Airlines, Iraq, Iran, Airspace Ban
Iran Air has been temporarily banned from flying to Sweden. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Which IranAir routes will resume?

According to CH-Aviation, IranAir will be resuming all routes to Europe. This is apart from destinations such as Vienna, Stockholm Arlanda, and Gothenburg Landvetter, which have stopped travel from Iran due to the virus.

Specifically, the following destinations may now have IranAir services from Tehran:

  • Amsterdam Schiphol
  • Cologne/Bonn
  • Frankfurt
  • Hamburg Helmut Schmidt
  • London Heathrow
  • Milan Malpensa
  • Paris CDG

Whether or not this is a good thing is still very much up in the air. Iran is an epicenter for the coronavirus and the fact that those who are infected might still be able to travel unhindered to Europe is a little concerning. The United States recently suspended all flights from Europe following this weekend to protect its own population. You would wonder if Europe should do the same with Iran.

Previous problems with the European Union

IranAir is not exactly the golden child when it comes to flying to the European Union. Earlier this year in February, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) banned three IranAir aircraft (specifically two A330-200s and one A321-200) as they said they were not running the latest software updates. Aviation authorities have cracked down hard on software version infractions after the Boeing 737 MAX disaster (which was caused by a software bug) in order to prevent software being an issue.

IranAir Airbus A330-200. Photo: Getty Images

This may have also been part of the reason why Iran said they could no longer fly to Europe. 

As IranAir couldn’t operate its newer aircraft, it actually switched to four A300-600s and a pair of A310-300s, which in airplane years are positively ancient. It is expected that once the ban lifts perhaps they will use newer aircraft like an Airbus A320.

What do you think of this news? Let us know in the comments.