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Iran Air cleared to fly in European Union

BRUSSELS: Iranian state airline Iran Air’s name  has been taken off a safety blacklist and allowed to fly in the European Union, the European Commission said Thursday.

“Following my visit to Iran in April, a technical assessment was successfully carried out in May,” EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said in a statement.

“Based on this I am happy to announce that we are now able to allow most aircraft from Iran Air back into European skies,” Bulc said.

Previously, only the carrier’s EU-manufactured Airbus planes could operate in the bloc.

A Commission official said that while most of Iran Air’s fleet was now cleared to fly in the EU, its Fokker 100 and Boeing 747 planes remained banned.

The company website says the airline operates 16 Fokker 100 planes, a short-haul aircraft dating back to the 1980s, and 5 Boeing 747 jumbo jets, all older versions.

Iran’s commercial airlines were badly hit by US and EU sanctions imposed over its contested nuclear programme, denying them access to crucial spare parts for their aircraft.

An EU-brokered deal in 2015 ended years of deadlock between the two sides, with sanctions being lifted in return for Iran committing to not develop nuclear weapons.

As a result, Iran earlier this year was able to place a massive order for more than 100 Airbus planes and it is in talks with US aerospace giant Boeing.

Bulc also said the 28-member bloc had removed all Zambian airlines from the safety blacklist after “seven years of work and extensive European technical assistance.”

In addition, three Indonesian carriers — Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air — plus Air Madagascar were given the all clear to fly in the EU.

The Air Safety List is updated regularly and with Thursday’s announcement, it names 214 airlines in 19 countries which fail to meet EU oversight standards.

Two other airlines are banned on safety concerns — Iraqi Airways and Suriname’s Blue Wing Airlines — while another six are partially restricted in the aircraft types they can fly in the EU. –AFP

Image: Wikimedia