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Austria’s flag carrier to restore Iran flight services: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Austrian Airlines is to return to the Iranian skies after nearly 18 months of suspension of flights.

Austria’s flag carrier Austrian Airlines is planning to restore its flights to Iran nearly 18 months after the company decided to halt services to the country because of military tensions in the Middle East region.

A Thursday report by the semi-official Tasnim news agency said that Austrian Airlines will start servicing three flights per week between Vienna and Tehran beginning July 17.

The carrier and its parent company Lufthansa decided to halt flights to Iran in January 2020 after military tensions between Iran and the United States reached its highest point in years.

The two airlines used to offer daily flights on the Iranian route before the suspension of services.

Iranian aviation authorities said in December that Lufthansa would resume flights to Iran in January this year although the German airline has yet to restore its services to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport.

However, Tasnim said in its report that the restoration of flights to Iran by Austrian Airlines would definitively take place in mid-July.

That comes as global airlines are increasingly using the Iranian airspace for transit flights, a sign they have set aside security concerns about the region to prefer shorter and more economic routes.

Figures released last month by Iran’s civil aviation authority showed that transit flights through the Iranian airspace had increased by 150% year on year in April.

A gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions is helping restore demand for aviation around the world. That comes as global airlines are struggling to offset losses suffered during months of lockdowns imposed by governments in major economies.

Iranian airlines have also reported a growth in bookings for foreign destination, especially for flights to Europe, in recent weeks.

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