Source: Press TV
Air France-KLM says it will resume direct flights to Iran after a seven-year gap as Europe moves to put trade ties back on track with a country described as the “Germany of the Middle East”.
source: Abrar News
The Franco-Dutch airline plans three weekly flights between Paris and Tehran from April 2016, the company said in a statement, “supporting the resumption of commercial exchange with Iran".
"Air France is showing its ambition to develop itself in a country with dynamic growth and for which the European Union is Iran's fourth economic partner," it said.
German airliner Lufthansa and its subsidiary Austrian Airlines have already said they planned to launch new flights to Iran.
On Tuesday, Air France said the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people last month led to revenue losses of around $54 million for the company in November as customers canceled trips.
Air France-KLM said it expected the fallout from the attacks to affect ticket sales into next year.
Air France operated flights to Tehran from 1946 until October 2008 when it suspended them due to economic reasons. The snap extended into the years after the West’s imposition of its most intensive sanctions against Iran in 2012.
Those sanctions are expected to be lifted as a nuclear accord with Tehran goes into effect, hopefully in January, with European countries lining up to clinch trade deals with the Middle East’s second biggest economy.
Europe's rush to revive trade
A number of trade delegations from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Austria and Sweden and other European countries have visited Iran in recent months in search of new commercial opportunities.
As many as 150 representatives of French businesses visited Tehran in September along with two government ministers to revive trade ties worth about $4 billion before sanctions reduced it to 500 million by 2013.
France and Italy will receive Hassan Rouhani soon for the first official visit of an Iranian president to Europe in a decade during which the sides are expected to sign deals in the air transport, health and agriculture.
Last month, a delegation of about 360 Italian traders traveled to Tehran to revive trade ties.
Iran and the EU had trade ties worth more than $25 billion before sanctions took hold.
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