British Airways and Iran Agree to 42 Flights a Week
Iranian State Media announced this week that flights between Iran and the United Kingdom will resume, with British Airways planning for the flights to begin in July 2016. The two countries signed an agreement this week that details that number of flights on a weekly basis.
The announcement comes shortly after Iran made an international agreement about its nuclear program. In December, Air France announced that it would resume flights to Iran after seven years without operating any routes to the country.
In January, British Airways had announced it wanted to open routes to Iran. This week, it was released that British Airways will operate 21 flights a week and Iran will do the same. Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of network planning, commented on the opening of routes to Iran in January saying, “Iran is a large and growing economy and Tehran is a brilliant business city. The recent lifting of sanctions opens up exciting new prospects for Iran as a tourist destination.”
Flights to Iran operated by British Airways were halted in 2012 at the height of tension between Iran and the West over the country’s nuclear ambitions.
While European airlines are opening to direct routes to Iran, the United States is still in negotiations over the matter. Media reported in January that there are discussions for direct flights to resume from the United States, after 36 years without direct service between the two nations. Additionally, Iran has announced that it needs 500 commercial aircraft over the next ten years. Earlier this year, an Iranian transportation official announced that they were purchasing 127 Airbus aircraft after years of aircraft remaining in disrepair because of sanctions. Perhaps the U.S. will see an opportunity to continue direct routes to the country in exchange for an agreement to purchase a lot of Boeing aircraft to meet the needs of their airline over the next decade.