In a brief statement issued on March 8th, 2020, the national flag carrier of Iran, IranAir announced the cancelation of all flights to Europe. The suspension of flights is effective immediately and will continue until further notice. The suspensions are likely due to the COVID-19 outbreak which is currently gaining ground in most of the world.
The Mehrabad International Airport-based airline offered no explanation as to why it was canceling flights except to say it had been imposed upon them by the Europeans.
In a separate statement, the secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines, Asadani Samani said the flight suspension was due to American-led sanctions. He said,
“The Europeans have put in place regulations for passenger and cargo flights to various destinations, and these laws and regulations are conditional on having software exclusively owned by the US and they will not supply it to Iran, which is why I say banning IranAir flights to Europe has nothing to do with the coronavirus.”
He added that work would continue behind the scenes to resolve the matter.
EASA expressed concerns over IranAir’s Airbus software
Back in February, IranAir withdrew one of its two A330-200s and single A321-200 from its scheduled flights to Europe after the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) expressed doubt over the software the aircraft use. Ever since the United States brought back sanctions on the Iranian regime, IranAir has been unable to get software updates from Airbus. With the state-owned airline unable to now fly its new aircraft, older A300-600s and A310-300s were put on European routes.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Civil Aviation Organization are currently consulting to resolve this problem and allow IranAir to re-establish European flights and we hope that it will be resolved as soon as possible,” Samani said.
IranAir routes and fleet
When the European Union Aviation Safety Agency was asked for comment regarding the suspension of IranAir flights by aviation website CH-Aviation they declined to comment.
Before the suspension of flights, IranAir operated the following services from Tehran Imam Khomeini (THR).
- Amsterdam two times per week
- Cologne/Bonn one time per week
- Frankfurt three times per week
- Gothenburg one time per week
- Hamburg two times per week
- London (LHR) three times per week
- Milan Malpensa two times per week
- Paris (CDG) two times per week
- Stockholm two times a week
- Vienna two times per week
According to Planespotters.net IranAir operates a fleet of:
- 2 x Airbus A330-200
- 1 x Airbus A300-600
- 1 x Airbus A300B4
- 1 x Airbus A321-200
- 5 x Airbus A320-200
- 2 x Airbus A310-300
- 3 x Airbus A319-100
- 1 x Boeing 747-200
- 4 x McDonnell-Douglas/MD-80/MD-82
- 1 x McDonnell-Douglas/MD-80/MD-83
- 13 x ATR 42/72
- 4 x Fokker F100
The coronavirus is responsible for 237 deaths in Iran
According to the latest news from the BBC, Iran now has 7,161 cases across the country, a figure that is being disputed by experts due to a lack of information coming out of the Islamic Republic.