Spain bans Iran’s Mahan Air from its airspace

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Spain bans Iran’s Mahan Air from its airspace

As of the start of this year, Barcelona Airport – El Prat in Spain was the only destination that Iran’s Mahan Air flew to and from within the European Union.

But now, the government of Spain has revoked its landing rights, cancelling Mahan Air’s license to operate out of Barcelona.

Flights between Barcelona and Tehran had run twice weekly, but the seat utilization on the route was mediocre, at about 30%. Barcelona Airport also closed Terminal 2 on 26 March, taking advantage of dwindling passenger numbers to renovate the terminal. Mahan Air operated out of Terminal 2.

Mahan Air had to quit route when Spanish civil aviation authority DGAC cancelled the airline’s license.

In revoking the flights, Spain has followed a wider trend in Europe where Germany, France, and Italy have all asked Iranian carriers to desist from flying into their airports.

Last month, Germany ordered IranAir to suspend its flights to the country. “The new Infection Protection Act now makes it possible: flights from Iran to Germany are prohibited with immediate effect,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn tweeted in early April.

Iran’s flag carrier used airports in Cologne, Bonn, Frankfurt and Hamburg for passenger and cargo flights.

Even as the German government linked its decision to the coronavirus crisis, it had revoked the license of Mahan Air in January 2019. France banned the airline in March 2019, accusing it of transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones.

Italy followed their lead in mid-December last year following a meeting between its Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Spain’s decision means Mahan Air no longer flies into mainland Europe.

Mahan Air, established in 1992 as Iran’s first private airline, is accused of providing financial and other support to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization in 2019.

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