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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's getting harder for Iranians to fly to Europe

If you're an Iranian and you have to get to Europe, your best bet may be to travel over land to a neighboring country and then catch a flight from there to Europe. There are two reasons you're better off flying from someplace else. First, most of Iran Air's planes have been banned from European skies since last summer due to safety issues. Second, as of now, the only countries in Europe where Iran Air planes are able to refuel are Austria and Germany - and the refueling contracts in those countries expire at the end of the month and will not be renewed.
An agreement signed between the US and Europe's four largest oil companies increases Iran's aviation isolation significantly, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The four companies, the Dutch and British Shell, French Total, Italian ENI and Norwegian Statoil all agreed to stop investing in Iran and to avoid any new involvement with Tehran.

The annulment of contracts with Iran forces Iranian aircraft to refuel only on German and Austrian soil, where Total and the Austrian company OMV will provide fuel until the end of their contract next month.

Iranian planes have been blacklisted by the European Union back in July. Then it was said that the reason for the decisive move was safety issues with Iranian airplanes.

The EU has stated that two-thirds of planes belonging to IranAir, the national airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran, will not be allowed to enter Europe. The plane models that will not be allowed in are: Boeing-727, Boeing-747 and the Airbus-320. Similar restrictions have been imposed on Mahan Air airlines.
Before British Airways moved its Israel flights to the new Terminal 5 at London Heathrow, I often found myself standing in Terminal 4 hearing the flight for Tehran called. So just for the heck of it, I went to Travelocity (which I don't often use) to see what flights were offered from London to Tehran. I posited leaving from London on Monday the 25th and returning on Friday the 29th, which would not be an unreasonable schedule for a businessperson. The only direct flights were on BMI. No Iran Air and no British Airways. There were connections available through Dubai (Emirates), Doha (Qatari), Frankfurt (Lufthansa - may be gone next month) and Istanbul (Turkish). I chose the BMI ticket because most business people hate connecting. It cost over $1200. As you can see, there were not a whole lot of choices.

Will sanctions work? I doubt it. There simply isn't enough time and there are obviously still a lot of countries that are not cooperating. But at least now some people are trying.

By the way, how do you like the stewardess costume?

3 Comments:

At 11:52 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - sanctions increase the cost to Iran. The regime does not care if its planes can fly in the Middle East. It will care if it loses access to its Western markets and can no longer earn hard currency to keep its economy afloat.

It may not be enough now but I think it will have an effect on Iran's behavior over the long run.

 
At 3:57 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

That does not stop the perpetrators of the tortures, rapes and killings, travelling in their private planes to Europe and the US or Russia!

At the hellish al qods march in London, there were a great group of them at the front of the march. They were allowed to march past the 7/7 memorial chanting anti-British, Anti-Semitic and anti-American hate-slogans!!

 
At 11:22 PM, Blogger Anthony said...

These sort of sanctions are counter productive. They target the population and dont do much to thwart the leadership's plans for world domination. Aren't we trying to reach out to their people?

 

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