TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) announced that it has been technically ready to resume Iran-US flights since last year, emphasizing that the order to do so has not been issued yet.
Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency on Monday, Deputy Head of CAO for Flight Standard Hamid Habibi announced that the organization does not have the authority to decide on the establishment of direct Iran-US flights.
However, he noted, CAO has been technically prepared to launch the flight since the last Iraian year (ended on March 20, 2014), though it has not received any order so far.
During his trip to New York to attend the 68th session of the UN general assembly last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged to facilitate travel to homeland for Iranian expatriates residing in the US.
The US, and Los Angeles in particular, is home to hundreds of thousands of Iranian expatriates.
Travelers between Iran and the US currently have to change flights in a third country, usually in Europe or in the Persian Gulf states. Although personal travel is generally exempted from US sanctions, experts say there are a couple of major obstacles before an Iran-US direct flight can resume.
The US treasury has barred Iranian airlines including Iran Air from being allowed to land or operate in the US. Furthermore, extraterritorial US sanctions prevent European airports from providing Iranian carriers with fuel or accepting money from them.
Unlike US flights, Iranian airlines still travel to London directly but are denied re-fuelling. Iran Air has at least three flights a week to London but has to stop in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to refuel each time it returns to Tehran. It can refuel in Ljubljana since the airport there has no direct flight to the US.
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