Air France/KLM and British Airways Will Discontinue Flights To Iran From Mid-September 2018

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Following the the reintroduction of US sanctions against Iran both British Airways and Air France as well as previously KLM have announced that they will cease their Iran operations as early as September.

Both carriers said that their flights to Iran were no longer ‘commercially viable’ after business suffered as booking numbers took a dive.

This latest round of sanctions moves Iran back into a corner, isolating the country both diplomatically and commercially.

The BBC (see here) reports the latest European carriers that react to this are BA and Air France after KLM had previously announced they’d stop flying to Tehran.

British Airways and Air France have announced that they will stop flying to Iran next month.

Both airlines said that the route was “not commercially viable.”

The reintroduction of US sanctions has caused a slump in the value of the Iranian currency, the rial, making it harder for Iranians to travel overseas.

BA restarted the service to Tehran two years ago after a four-year gap. The last flight will be on 22 September, returning the next day.

The airline apologised to travellers planning to travel to Iran and said it was offering refunds for affected customers or a possible rerouting through other airlines.

Air France, which had transferred its connections with Tehran to its low-cost airline Joon, had reduced the frequency of the flights from three to one a week since the beginning of this month. It will stop all flights on 18 September.

KLM said last month that it would also suspend flights from Amsterdam to Iran from September.

The sanctions, prompted partly by Washington’s decision in May to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, have prompted many western firms to step back from business in Iran. …

Even though there has always been plenty of personal travel, so called ‘ethnic traffic’ to and from Iran a large chunk of the airlines business is business travel in premium cabins as well as cargo. The sanctions are definitely going to put the breaks on those two cash cows.

Conclusion

Having British Airways, Air France and KLM disappear from Tehran leaves the playing field to Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines as far as the Europeans are concerned.

I had discussions previously with people who hold Iranian passports including some friends who live in Canada and they said whenever possible they try to fly Lufthansa as transit is a lot easier in Frankfurt and schedule is more accommodating. Not sure how much connection traffic BA had in general.

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