Saudi/Qatari Normalization of Bilateral Ties Will Not Make Iran's Airspace Less Cost-Effective

  December 05, 2020   News ID 1001
Saudi/Qatari Normalization of Bilateral Ties Will Not Make Iran's Airspace Less Cost-Effective
Managing-Director of Iran Airports Company Siavash Amir Mokri downplayed impacts of US President Donald Trump’s last-ditch attempts to cut Iran’s overflight revenues by persuading Saudi Arabia to open its airspace to Qatari flights.

Tehran, SAEDNEWS, Dec. 5: “The US cannot omit the cost-effective air route of Iran’s airspace for the world airliners,” Amir Mokri told FNA on Saturday.“The US government's hostility towards the progress of the Iranian people is not hidden from anyone, but Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company has regional advantages as well as a record of providing high quality air navigation services and at present, has adopted a strategy to play an active role in the regional market,” he added.

Amir Mokri noted that for instance if Qatar Airways wants to fly to Africa, passing through the Saudi airspace is naturally shorter and more economical, but if it wants to fly to Central and Northern Europe, Iran’s route is shorter and more cost-effective.

He added that after Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed sanctions against Qatar, the Arab country had increased its flights over Iran to nearly 400 flights every day, stating that after removal of embargos the flights might decrease.

The New York Times reported earlier this week that the administration of US President Donald Trump was reportedly seeking to persuade Saudi Arabia to open its airspace to Qatari flights and cut Iran’s overflight revenues, as it scrambles to deal yet another blow to the Iranian economy before leaving office.

It added a report published on Wednesday that Trump administration officials had held talks in Doha and Riyadh to help re-open Saudi Arabia’s sky for Qatar Airways, less than three years after the kingdom barred Qatari flights from its airspace in light of a diplomatic feud between the two neighbors.

Washington’s earlier attempts to persuade Qatar over the issues have failed as Riyadh and Doha remain locked in what is generally described as the Persian Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute.

Qatar Airways has rerouted many of its flights through the Iranian airspace since it was banned from flying over several Arab countries in the Persian Gulf in June 2017 when the political standoff erupted between Qatar and a grouping of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia (Source: Fars News).

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