JUST IN: Iran air suspends Europe flights indefinitely

By Isa Amodu, Abuja with agency report
Iran Air has announced on Sunday that it has suspended all its flights to Europe until further notice.
The national carrier said in a statement that the decision was taken due to “restrictions” imposed by European authorities for “unknown reasons”.
Sweden blocked Iran Air flights from landing in the country in recent days, citing concerns over the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in the Islamic republic.
The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran said in a Sunday report that Homa was negotiation with European authorities to resume the flights.

It did not mention weather the spread of a new coronavirus in Iran and other parts of the world had a role to play.

However, secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines said that European restrictions on Homa’s flights had nothing to do with the coronavirus.

Maqsoud Assadi Samani said that the bans have been enacted in line with “the Americans’ pressure on Iranian aviation industry”.

“That shows that Europeans have been following the US on this (particular) issue,” said Salmani, adding that all flights by Iranian airlines except one by the Mahan Air to the Spanish city of Barcelona have been suspended.

Homa had already suspended its flights to destinations in more than six countries in the Middle East because of a variety of reasons, including the coronavirus.

The company said in its Sunday statement that passengers will be able to receive full refunds on their flight tickets to the European destinations.

Iranian health ministry said on Sunday that the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country had increased to 6,566 while adding that 194 people had died of the virus since it began in the country on February 19.

That comes as global health authorities and governments have hailed Iran’s response to the outbreak at a time the country faces mounting economic pressure due to the American sanctions.

Iran’s domestic air travel has also been hit by the spread of coronavirus, with airlines reporting record low demands for major destinations.

Iran’s airports authority has put in place some strict controls in the points of departure including individual screening of the passengers.