An official in Iran’s government has downplayed a Saudi ban to keep Iranian airliners off Saudi Arabia’s skies, saying the country’s air carriers have no need for the KSA airspace.
Ebrahim Moradi, head of air traffic control of Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company (IAANC), told the official IRNA news agency on Tuesday that following the recent cut in bilateral diplomatic ties, no Iranian airline company has scheduled flights to Saudi cities.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 following demonstrations held in front of the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad by angry protesters censuring the Al Saud regime for the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh a day earlier.
Moradi pointed to the recent Saudi ban on Iran’s Mahan Air company, saying Riyadh’s decision will not impact the Iranian airline as the company currently operates no flights to African nations via the Persian Gulf Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said Monday that Mahan Air was banned due to violations of local safety rules.
The GACA said in a statement that several violations related to airline safety had been committed by Mahan Air, “prompting the suspension of licenses granted to the company.”
“This decision comes in the context of the GACA (regarding) the safety of passengers and to preserve their lives,” Reuters reported.
Trade between Iran and Saudi Arabia has mostly been small and each year only Iranian pilgrims travel to the kingdom for the hajj pilgrimage.
Several countries, including Pakistan, Russia and China, have so far voiced readiness to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia to ease up their tensions.