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Emirates Group to Reenter Iran
People, Travel

Emirates Group to Reenter Iran

Emirates Group’s subsidiary Dnata will open a travel agency in Iran later this quarter, its first foray into the country in a decade.
Dnata, an airport and travel services company, exited the Iranian market a decade ago after it was unable to transfer a license to operate ground handling and management services at Tehran’s Mahrabad Airport.
Dnata will open a travel agency in Tehran “this quarter” with a local joint venture partner, Dnata President Gary Chapman was quoted as saying by Zawya.
“Hopefully as things liberalize a little bit and things open and sanctions are lifted we will be in the right place at the right time,” he said at Emirates headquarters after the company announced a record full-year profit of Dh1.1 billion ($300 million).
Dnata will reenter Iran five months after nuclear-related sanctions were lifted in January, opening the country’s economy to foreign investors.
The start-up investment cost was “negligible,” Chapman said, while also admitting that despite completing due diligence there is some confusion over what has changed now that sanctions have been lifted.
Describing matters as “ambiguous,” he said, “You’re never quite sure how things are going to be interpreted.”
Iranian officials have complained that the United States is obstructing dollar denominated transactions from taking place, forcing companies to use the euro or other currencies.
Dnata may also find itself navigating through a political rift in the Persian Gulf. The United Arab Emirates downgraded diplomatic ties with Iran earlier this year after Saudi Arabia’s cut diplomatic and trade relations with Tehran when its embassy and consulate in Iran were ransacked following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric by the House of Saud.
“I don’t think [the downgraded diplomatic relations] helps but that’s the reality,” Chapman said, while adding he would “love to have an operation at [Tehran’s] Imam Khomeini Airport.”

 

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