Air India Express defers Tehran flight plan on US-Iran uncertainties

World Wednesday 08/February/2017 16:18 PM
By: Times News Service
Air India Express defers Tehran flight plan on US-Iran uncertainties

Mumbai: Air India Express has deferred plan to launch direct flight to Tehran amid uncertainties over the current US administration's stance towards Iran as fresh sanctions could hurt the airline's operations.
The carrier -- the low cost arm of national carrier Air India -- was preparing to start Tehran flight this year as part of international expansion plans.
"We don't know what is going to be the policy of the Trump administration towards Iran. If sanctions are re-imposed, there could be an issue in getting permission from the US banks for operating the aircraft in that territory," a highly placed source told PTI.
As of now, the plan to launch flight to Iran stands deferred, the source said. Since some Air India planes are financed through a loan from Exim Bank of the US, the latter's approval would be required before operating flights to Iran.
In case there are sanctions, clearance would be a difficult proposition. The plan to launch Tehran flight was decided after the US, under the then president Barack Obama, had eased the sanctions imposed on Iran after striking a nuclear deal. However, there are concerns that the current American regime led by President Donald Trump could impose fresh sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Earlier this week, Trump described the nuclear deal with Iran as "the worst" agreement ever negotiated.
Air India Express was expecting the thrice-a-week Tehran flight to commence from March-April this year. Currently, the airline flies to 15 international destinations including Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha and Singapore. It also has domestic flights.
The carrier has a fleet of 23 Boeing 737 planes. GoAir has also got approval to start flights to Iran and other overseas destinations.