Iran plans to claw back air traffic with airspace discounts for foreign airlines

Published: 21 June 2020 - 8:48 a.m.

Iran is reportedly planning to offer discounts to some foreign airlines using its airspace in a bid to increase transit income and flights following a dip in traffic because of the coronavirus pandemic and regional tensions.

State news agency IRNA quoted Nasser Aghaei, director of Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company, saying that incentives and discounts could be used to encourage airlines to use Iran’s airspace instead of neighbouring rivals.

IRNA reported last month that passenger traffic at Iranian airports dropped 80% in March 2020.

Iran’s aviation officials now hope to increase flights by 20% by reducing overflight fees, according to Reuters.

Earlier this year, some of the world’s largest airlines rerouted around Iran following rising tensions with the US after President Donald Trump approved the assassination of the top Iranian general.

America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommended against overflying the country for fear of attacks from Iran on civilian airliners.

On 8 January, Iran shot down a Ukrainian International Airlines plane with 176 people on-board, claiming it mistook the aircraft for a US cruise missile.

UAE airliners Emirates and Etihad continued to operate flights over Iran and Iraq throughout the crisis.

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