EU Easing Restrictions on Iran Air

Professor of Economics
EU Easing Restrictions on Iran Air
EU Easing Restrictions on Iran Air

As the nuclear agreement is being implemented new barriers have emerged and new challenges are addressed. However it is heartwarming to see Iran’s aviation sector keeps growing despite the barriers existing from the sanctions era.

Negotiations for purchasing aircraft from Airbus were followed by proposals to establish an aircraft leasing company. Now relaxing the restriction on Iran Air flights to Europe is the next natural step.


On June 2 it was announced that the European Commission would allow Iran Air to operate more flights to the EU. This announcement followed updating the Air Safety List by this organization. The new list is expected by June 16 and allows Iran Air to operate its fleet of Airbus on European routes. Iran Air's aging Boeing 747 and Fokker 100 aircraft remain blacklisted. However these aircraft constitute a small portion of Iran Air fleet. The European Aviation Safety Agency continues to monitor Iran Air operations, however there is no denying that this is a major step forward in the process of integrating our aviation industry in the global economy.


This decision follows the recent agreement to purchase more than 100 Airbus and ATR airplanes from European manufacturers. With Iran Air and other Iranian airlines emerging as major potential buyers of European planes, European lawmakers have become interested in these airlines ability to generate revenue.

To this one must add the growing demand for air travel to Iran and the increasing air traffic between Iran and European capitals. To permit Iran Air to expand its European operations is a much more significant step than the Airbus deal. European authorities are accepting Iran Air as a reliable partner and aircraft operator providing it with an opportunity to benefit financially from the growing demand to travel to Iran.


The decision also represents the multidimensional nature of the nuclear deal's implementation process and the different aspects of economic development. It is not just that Iranian airlines can access global markets for aircraft acquisition. They also can offer services to a much larger customer base now. As their market expands so does their ability to attract investment and pay higher returns.


There is no quick fix; this is a gradual and continuous process. Iran’s aviation sector is doing much more than staging a comeback. It is providing the rest of country with a blue print to become global players. A process that involves expanding market demand, modernizing the supply process and expanding production possibilities to attract investment as well as addressing challenges at different levels. This is a marathon and to win one needs to keep going. The challenge is not the speed. It is persistence.